CMS Supports Coverage of Lung Cancer Screening

November 10, 2014

Prevention Measures for Lung Cancer Take Center Stage

Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services Supports Coverage of Lung Cancer Screening

(Alexandria, VA) Medicare recipients received welcome news today. After months of lobbying from cancer patient and advocacy organizations, including the Prevent Cancer Foundation, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) issued a draft decision requiring coverage of low-dose computed tomography (CT) lung cancer screening for at-risk beneficiaries.

Last April, the Medicare Evidence Development and Coverage Advisory Committee (MEDCAC) stated that they would not recommend payment for CT lung scans. Many in the cancer community fiercely advocated against such a position. Medicare coverage for CT lung scans is critical because lung cancer continues to be the leading cause of cancer death for both men and women, killing approximately 160,000 Americans each year. The United States Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) estimates that a minimum of 20,000 lives can be saved each year through these screenings. Yet, with a price tag of $300 to $400, such life saving services would have simply been out of reach for many older Americans.

The Prevent Cancer Foundation is grateful that CMS determined that “the evidence is sufficient to add a lung cancer screening counseling and shared decision making visit, and for appropriate beneficiaries, screening for lung cancer with low dose computed tomography (LDCT), once per year, as an additional preventive service benefit under the Medicare program only if all of the following criteria are met…” The full criteria and decision can be reviewed on the CMS website.

This decision follows a similar recommendation from the USPSTF in December 2013 for CT lung cancer screening for current and former heavy smokers between the ages of 55 and 80.

The Prevent Cancer Foundation joined the Lung Cancer Alliance, the American College of Radiology, and the Society of Thoracic Surgeons, along with nearly 100 other partners in submitting recommendations to CMS that are aligned with the draft decision.


About The Prevent Cancer Foundation

Founded in 1985, Prevent Cancer Foundation is one of the nation’s leading health organizations and has catapulted cancer prevention to prominence. Since its inception, the Foundation has provided more than $134 million in support of cancer prevention and early detection research, education, advocacy and community outreach programs across the country.

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