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Lung CT Screening For Veterans Coming Soon

August 29, 2012
Written by: , Filed in: Chest Radiology
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The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs plans to start CT lung cancer screening for veterans as a clinical demonstration project at six VA hospitals, according to DOTmed News.

The Lung Cancer Alliance, a nonprofit advocacy, support, and education group based in Washington, broke the news earlier this month that the VA planned to initiate screening for veterans at high risk of lung cancer.

DOTmed News has now received an official statement confirming the demonstration project. The department and its health-care arm, the Veterans Health Administration, have yet to determine which six hospitals will be involved or when the project will start. The statement did say:

The experience of veterans who undergo screening will be closely monitored to gather information about outcomes from the screening and follow-up. Patients also will be asked about their experience with the process to help VHA understand the potential harms of screening, such as anxiety, fear, inconvenience, and pain.

The National Lung Screening Trial, which ended last year, found that those at high risk of lung cancer were 20 percent less likely to die if screened with low-dose CT scans compared to simple X-rays. Since then, a screening protocol has been evolving piecemeal, with competing ideas about, among other things, who should get screened and whether insurance should cover it, as we’ve been reporting.

One unresolved issue is that the screening seems to have a high rate of false positives, which would trigger needless biopsies, not to mention anxiety.

Still, lung cancer is the leading cause of U.S. cancer deaths. The American Cancer Society says it kills about 160,000 people every year. The Lung Cancer Alliance says veterans are at elevated risk because of high rates of smoking and, sometimes, exposure to hazardous substances in the course of their duties.

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Hospitals are eyeing the possibility of also becoming health insurers. What might that mean for radiology? We consider the possibilities on our Facebook page.

Related seminar: Thoracic Imaging (all-new release)


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One Response to “Lung CT Screening For Veterans Coming Soon”

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