Lung Cancer Screening: New Reasons to Refer

June 12, 2012

CT screening for lung cancer proves as cost effective as screening for other common cancers. Listen as the head of the study speaks about the new implications for primary care.

CT scanning for early lung cancer has been shown to save lives, but can we justify it in economic terms? A study published in Health Affairs takes a close look at the question by modeling data from the large International Early Lung Cancer Action Program, which involves scores of screening centers in 9 countries including the United States.

Not only does the study show that this effort can be cost-effective, but it has important implications for primary care doctors who need to refer patients at risk for such screening. In this podcast, the lead author Bruce Pyenson,  tells why this new information may change public policy and insurance reimbursement practices about lung cancer screening, and what other implications it may carry for your practice.

Mr. Pyenson is principal consulting actuary at the New York office of the consulting firm Milliman.

Podcast: Lung Cancer Screening: New Reasons to Refer

The questions:
• A good place to start would be with a brief discussion of lung cancer screening, which has been quite controversial.
• Tell us a bit about the study and what you found.
• Hasn't there been some debate about whether CT scan screening
• Your study talked about the use of low-cost, high-quality providers. What did you mean by that?
• What do you think the message of this study is for primary care physicians, who would be most likely to send high-risk patients for screening?
• Would you anticipate that the results of this study would change policy and we would see more health insurers covering this?

For your reference

An Actuarial Analysis Shows That Offering Lung Cancer Screening As An Insurance Benefit Would Save Lives At Relatively Low CostHealth Affairs April 2012 vol. 31 no. 4 770-779