LUNGevity Foundation President Comments on Yesterday's CMS Decision against Covering CT Scans

Medicare Committee Decision Leaves Medicare-Reliant At Risk

May 02, 2014, 13:52 ET from LUNGevity Foundation

WASHINGTON, May 2, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- LUNGevity Foundation President Andrea Ferris today commented on the Medicare panel decision against funding for CT scans.

Ms. Ferris said, "LUNGevity Foundation is disappointed in the Medicare Evidence & Coverage Advisory Committee (MEDCAC) decision against covering annual CT scans to detect lung cancer in a high risk population. The results of the National Lung Cancer Screening Trial show that CT scans allow for a 20% relative risk reduction in lung cancer deaths among a high risk population. In a nation with a five-year overall lung cancer survival rate of 16%, early detection is critical and this troubling decision will leave the thousands reliant on Medicare at risk."

Pierre P. Massion, M.D., chair of LUNGevity Foundation's Scientific Advisory Board and director of the Thoracic Program at the Vanderbilt Ingram Cancer Center, also commented on the CMS decision:

Dr. Massion noted, "Based on the strong results of the NLST trial, a unique large randomized trial with results published in 2011, the US Preventive Services Task Force recommended last December CT screening for adults 55 to 80 years of age who have a 30 pack-year smoking history and who currently smoke or who quit in the previous 15 years. Expanding Medicare coverage for lung cancer screening in populations at high risk is expected to save over 12,000 lives per year and to be cost effective. There is much research to be done and supported by multiple governmental and non-profit organizations like LUNGevity in order to minimize the health care costs related to the discovery of large numbers of indeterminate pulmonary nodules, for example, and to determine at what frequency the screening tests should be offered. Nevertheless, the benefits behind screening for the number one cause of cancer death in this country are unequivocal and have been supported by most large professional medical organizations. The CMS advisory panel rejecting Medicare coverage for CT screening expresses concerns primarily on the risks of low dose chest CT including overdiagnosis, anxiety and unnecessary treatment. These potential risks are inherent to all screening efforts and are being addressed carefully with new research studies. These concerns should not prevent CMS from supporting the health care community's efforts to organize careful interdisciplinary screening programs to transform the management of high risk individuals and reduce lung cancer death rates."

About Lung Cancer

  • 1 in 14 Americans will be diagnosed with lung cancer in their lifetime.
  • About 60 percent of all new lung cancer diagnoses are among people who have never smoked or are former smokers.
  • Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death, taking more lives annually in the U.S. than the next top three cancers combined.
  • Only 17 percent of all people diagnosed with lung cancer will survive 5 years or more.

About LUNGevity Foundation
LUNGevity Foundation is firmly committed to making an immediate impact on increasing quality of life and survivorship of people with lung cancer by accelerating research into early detection and more effective treatments, as well as by providing community, support, and education for all those affected by the disease. Our vision is a world where no one dies of lung cancer. For more information on LUNGevity Foundation, please visit

SOURCE LUNGevity Foundation