FAQS About Lung Cancer Screening
Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer deaths for U.S. adults, as reported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). There were 210,828 cases and 157,423 deaths from lung cancer in 2012, and risk increases with age. Cancer risk is also higher among people who smoke cigarettes, especially those who have smoked for 30 years or more. Quitting smoking significantly reduces risk, cutting it in half after ten years. However, many former smokers will still develop lung cancer. Fortunately, if it is caught early, it may be more treatable. At Zoom Diagnostic Imaging, we provide lung cancer screening services in order to help doctors find the disease before it has spread to other parts of the body, which can improve treatment success and increase survival rates. Annual screening is covered by Medicare for qualified patients, and may be covered by insurance as well.
Click on the Frequently Asked Questions about lung cancer screening below to learn more.
- Where can I find more information about Medicare coverage of lung cancer screening?
- You’ll find detailed information about screening and coverage eligibility here.
- What is lung cancer screening?
- Lung cancer screening is a way of testing for lung cancer using diagnostic imaging. At Zoom Diagnositc Imaging, we perform low-dose CT scanning, allowing physicians to visualize signs of cancer even when no outward symptoms are apparent.
- Why are the benefits of lung cancer screening?
- Lung cancer screening can detect cancer in its early stages, leading to better patient outcomes and longer lives. A recent study calculated just how many thousands of lives could have been saved if insurers had covered lung cancer screening over the last 15 years. Researchers found that 130,000 lives could have been saved for people under the age of 65 years if routine screening had been in place.
- When is lung cancer screening most effective?
- Lung cancer screening is most effective when the person being tested has a history of smoking cigarettes for 30 years or longer, but does not currently have cancer symptoms. When lung cancer is caught in its earliest stages, before patients exhibit signs of the disease, treatment is more likely to be effective.
- What types of screening do doctors recommend for people at risk of developing lung cancer?
- Low-dose computed tomography (CT scanning or LDCT scanning) is the only recommended screening test for patients with a high lung cancer risk.
- How does a low-dose CT scan work?
- CT scanning uses an X-ray machine and low doses of radiation to create images of the body. In the case of lung cancer screening, the scan produces a high quality image of the lungs.
- Is lung cancer screening covered by my insurance company?
- Many insurance companies do cover lung cancer screening. Check with yours to find out if you’re covered.
- Does Medicare cover lung cancer screening?
- Yes. In February of 2015, The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) announced a new benefit for low-dose computed tomography (LDCT) lung cancer screening, available to certain Medicare beneficiaries.
- What are the requirements for Medicare lung cancer screening coverage?
- Medicare beneficiaries who meet the following requirements qualify for coverage:
History of tobacco smoking for 30-pack years or longer
No lung cancer symptoms present
Current smoker or former smoker who quit smoking in the last 15 years
Have a written order for LDCT from a qualified health professional following a lung cancer
screening counseling that attests to shared decision-making having taken place before their first screening CT
- I am a cigar smoker or other non-cigarette smoker. Am I eligible for screening covered under Medicare?
- No. Per the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) and Medicare, only cigarette smokers are covered at this time. However, non-cigarette smokers may still be at risk.