August 6, 2013
The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) issued draft recommendations for annual low-dose CT lung cancer screening for adults ages 55 to 79 who have quit smoking in the last 15 years or who have a 30 pack-year history of smoking.
The draft recommendations received a grade B. There will be a public comment period before the final recommendation is issued. The Affordable Care Act (ACA) requires insurers to cover screening tests graded a B or above.
This is potentially a big moment in the fight against cancer. CT scans cost as much as $400 paid out of pocket, a financial burden that deters many people from seeking the procedure. CT scans detect cancer in its early stages and their approval by the USPSTF is expected to drop lung cancer mortality rates by 20%.