David Sturges, Dr. David Carbone

In this lung cancer screening video, you will learn the answers to these questions:

1. What are the benefits of an early diagnosis for lung cancer?
2. Are lung cancer screenings covered by insurance for everyone?
3. Are X-Rays used to diagnose lung cancer?
4. Is past radon exposure a reason to get screened for lung cancer and is that screening covered by insurance?

Screening for Lung Cancer: What Are the Benefits?

The early detection of lung cancer allows patients to have more treatment options and a far greater chance of survival. As a result, the 5-year survival rate for those diagnosed before the cancer has spread rises from 23 out of every 100 people to 60 out of every 100. But, the key is being tested for #lungcancer early.

The effective treatments for people with lung cancer detected early are surgery to remove the tumor and, possibly stereotactic radiation to shrink any tumor cells that can’t be reached with surgery.

Once lung cancer has spread outside of the lungs, it is much more difficult to cure.

Insurance Coverage for Lung Cancer Screenings

Studies over the last 15 years using early detection screening such as spiral CT have been shown to reduce lung cancer deaths by 16% to 20%. Because of these findings, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force now recommends annual computed tomography (CT) screening for people who meet specific criteria. More importantly, this non-invasive diagnostic test may be covered by Medicare and most insurance companies.

If you answer yes to these questions, you meet the criteria:

1. Are you between the ages of 50 and 80?
2. Do you have at least a 20 pack-year history of smoking?
(A pack-year is defined as smoking a pack a day for 20 years or 2 packs a day for 10, etc.)

Many people who ultimately do get a diagnosis of lung cancer do not fall within these criteria, and many lung cancer cases are not diagnosed early as a result.

Are X-Rays Used to Diagnose Lung Cancer?

The most accurate test for lung cancer is a low-dose spiral CT Scan. Chest X-Rays sometimes may point out nodules or other abnormalities, however, they are not sensitive enough to be used as a diagnostic tool for lung cancer.

For those who meet the criteria for screening above, annual low-dose CT scans reduce deaths from lung cancer by 20%.

What about Screening for those Exposed to Radon?

Currently, radon exposure is not an accepted criterion for insurance companies and Medicare to pay for lung cancer screening.