CT scanning for lung cancer is as effective as other scanning techniques; Research

CT scanning

Researchers have found that CT scan of older smokers for lung cancer is as effective as other screening technologies.

Lung Cancer[hana-code-insert name=’StumbleUpon’ /][hana-code-insert name=’Reddit’ /]This research has been published online in the April issue of Health Affairs.

Researchers have found that 3D pictures of lungs through CT imaging could help in the reduction of lung cancer deaths by about 35% at a cost ranging from $19,000 to $26,000 per year of life saved. Other options for screening are Pap smears for cervical cancer (costing from $50,000 to $75,000 per year of life saved) and mammography screening (costing from $31,000 to $51,000).

Researchers have advised health insurers to use spiral CT lung cancer screening for people with high risk of lung cancer. They have reported,

“Our results suggest that commercial insurers should consider lung cancer screening of high-risk individuals to be high-value coverage and provide it as a benefit to people who are at least fifty years old and have a smoking history of thirty pack-years or more. We also believe that payers and patients should demand screening from high-quality, low-cost providers, thus helping set an example of efficient system innovation.’


Bruce S. Pyenson, Marcia S. Sander, Yiding Jiang, Howard Kahn and James L. Mulshine, (2012). An Actuarial Analysis Shows That Offering Lung Cancer Screening As An Insurance Benefit Would Save Lives At Relatively Low Cost. Health Affairs, doi: 10.1377/hlthaff.2011.0814

Further Reading:

Health Affairs blog


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