Results from the National Cancer Institute National Lung Screening Trial showed that low-dose CT lung cancer screening has the ability to reduce lung cancer mortality by 20% compared to chest X-ray. Unfortunately only around 4 to 6% of people eligible for lung cancer screening are actually getting screened.
The UVA Comprehensive Lung Cancer Screening Program is committed to altering that statistic. With your help, we can work to identify those patients at elevated risk, diagnose lung cancer in its earliest stages and provide treatment when the disease is most combatable.
Patients Eligible for Lung Cancer Screening
Lung cancer screening is recommended for asymptomatic patients who:
- Are between the ages of 55 and 77
- Have smoked the equivalent of one pack a day for 30 years or two packs a day for 15 years
- Are current smokers or have quit within the past 15 years.
Advanced Screening Tools
The screening process is quick, easy and non-invasive, with no IV required, no contrast dye and minimal radiation exposure. Plus, compared to five years ago, results are more accurate thanks to the Lung-RADS® reporting tool that standardizes screening reporting methods and helps reduce false-positive readings.
Encouraging Smoking Cessation
Patients who smoke are not required to quit prior to lung cancer screening. However, smoking cessation counseling is a key component of the lung cancer screening program, and many patients find this to be one of the most beneficial aspects of their screening experience, says program coordinator Aimee Strong, DNP, AGACNP. “The UVA team meets patients where they are. We can counsel those patients who wish to quit, prescribe smoking cessation medications, and connect them with resources to help them succeed. If they’re not ready to quit, screening is still an option,” she says.
Insurance Coverage for Screening
The United States Preventive Services Task Force recommended the use of low-dose CT for lung cancer screening in 2013. Since 2015, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has been covering low-dose CT for lung cancer screening. Almost all private insurance companies now cover the screening as well. “The lung cancer screening team at UVA Health receives pre-authorization from insurance providers to ensure patients are approved and aware of potential costs upfront,” says Strong.
All patients screened for lung cancer are tracked via EpicCare after screening to ensure they’re not lost to follow up. If something is revealed on the scan, patients are promptly referred to a team of lung cancer experts, which may include medical oncologists, pulmonologists, radiation oncologists and thoracic surgeons who collaborate to ensure patients receive well-rounded care; they have a direct link to all of the resources provided by UVA’s NCI-designated cancer center.
To learn more or to refer a patient for lung cancer screening, call 434.924.9333. You may also submit your referral via EpicCare Link.