High-Risk Lung Cancer Screening Rates Remain Low

May 02, 2017 by Elisa Becze BA, ELS, Editor

Despite U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) recommendations, screening rates for smokers at high risk for lung cancer remain very low, according to the findings from a new study published in JAMA Oncology (http://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamaoncology/article-abstract/2599990).

In 2013, USPSTF recommended annual low-dose computed tomography (LDCT) screening for people aged 55–80 years with a 30 pack-year history of smoking who are current smokers or have quit smoking within the past 15 years.

Using the National Health Interview Survey, researchers compared LDCT screening rates for eligible people meeting USPSTF’s criteria between 2010 and 2015 and found no significant increase in the number of people at high risk who received screening. In 2015, only 262,700 of the 6.8 million high-risk eligible people underwent LDCT.

The researchers suggested a lack of awareness among healthcare providers and patients, citing another study that found that almost two-thirds of physicians did not know that Medicare reimburses LDCT for eligible patients. They recommended provider and patient education to improve informed clinical decision making.

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