News on Wellness

Lung Cancer Screening in Medicare; Study Calculates Cost

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A new study has estimated that every person who is covered with Medicare in US will be paying an additional $3 if certain screening for lung cancer in smokers, both current as well as former is agreed to be paid by the government.

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This study further stated that government will bear an additional cost of $2 billion a year if it agrees to follow the advice and offer lung scans in its Medicare plan. In addition, it should also be able to tackle the issue of spreading the cost to non smokers as well, which has raised angst over all.

Study was conducted by the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Centre in Seattle and released this Wednesday. Joshua Roth, the study lead stated that this study was conducted just to measure the cost of screening in case government was planning to act on the recommendation of the advisory panel to provide lung scans and it was not judging the value or even suggesting Medicare to pay for the same.

Lung cancer being one the leading cancer deaths in the US, this will help reduce fatality rate. Usually, cancer in lung is detected only after it has spread to other parts of the body. However, if this scan is approved, cancer can be detected earlier which will reduce the death toll.

Roth added that if government decides to include lung scans, then both health care system and Medicare should plan and set up more scanning systems like CT imaging and early stage treatments. Further, Medicare will also have to budget more expenses in this regard.

Released just before the American Society of Clinical Oncology’s annual meeting, this study has created debate on the usage of low-dose CT scanning that will help in detecting lung cancer in former and current smokers. This study was conducted after the US Centres for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ advisory panel recommending providing low-dose lung cancer screening as part of the plan.

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