“MONUMENTAL MOMENT” IN FIGHT AGAINST CANCER JUST OCCURRED; THIS IS A “GAME CHANGER”
NATIONAL EXPERT PANEL RECOMMENDS ANNUAL CT SCANS FOR THOSE AT HIGH RISK FOR LUNG CANCER; PUBLIC AND PRIVATE REIMBURSEMENTS EXPECTED TO FOLLOW RECOMMENDATION
Lung Cancer Alliance expands Help Line hours, releases Risk Navigator for public, expands responsible screening network; national educational ad campaign next
Washington, DC – July 29, 2013 /PRNewswire/ — The USPSTF today issued a draft recommendation giving its second highest approval rating for CT screening for lung cancer for those at high risk, a move that if approved in final form, will trigger Medicare and insurance coverage and bring about a dramatic drop in the leading cause of cancer deaths.
Lung Cancer Alliance President and CEO Laurie Fenton Ambrose said the implications of the favorable “B” rating are profound and a “monumental moment.”
“Tens of thousands of lives could be saved,” she said. “Screening those at high risk now will dramatically make a difference and will open the door to much faster advances in research on all stages of lung cancer. This is a game changer.”
The USPSTF recommends screening for current and former smokers age 55 to 80 with a smoking history the equivalent of smoking a pack a day for 30 years or two packs a day for 15 years. The recommendation for screening includes those who have quit within the past 15 years.
“The most important next steps are to help educate the public about risk and to direct them to responsible screenings,” said Fenton Ambrose. “We are here to answer questions about lung cancer risks and provide information to those who need it most.”
Today, LCA also launched its Risk Navigator tool – www.AtRiskForLungCancer.org. Additionally, it expanded the hours of its support line – (800) 298-2436 – operating 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. EST. LCA will also launch a national educational advertising campaign in September to encourage the public to know their risk for lung cancer.
Now that USPSTF has issued its draft recommendation, public comments are invited and will be accepted until August 26, 2013. The recommendation is expected to be finalized within six months.
LCA, a national non-profit based in Washington, D.C., has been advocating for better lung cancer screening protocols since the organization’s inception in 1995. It launched its National Framework for Excellence in Lung Cancer Screening and Continuum of Care in 2011. The guidelines ensure responsible screening practices across the nation. Today approximately 100 centers have adopted these principles or have been identified as following best practice guidelines in lung cancer care.
About Lung Cancer:
Lung cancer is the leading killer in the United States, taking more lives than breast, prostate, colon and pancreatic cancers combined. Each year, 160,000 lives are lost to lung cancer. Only 15 percent of people diagnosed with lung cancer will live 5 years or longer. This is primarily because today the vast majority of lung cancers are diagnosed at a late stage.
LCA is the only national non-profit dedicated solely to providing support and advocacy for people living with or at risk of lung cancer. It has long advocated for the use of low-dose CT scans in at-risk populations for the early detection of lung cancer. LCA also has been active in addressing the stigma of lung cancer, including its notable and award-winning campaign “No One Deserves to Die,” which highlighted the often public perception that those diagnosed with lung cancer bring the disease upon themselves by engaging in high-risk behaviors, such as cigarette smoking. Lung Cancer Alliance also played an integral role in the 2012 Recalcitrant Cancer Research Act to redirect U.S. government cancer research funds to those cancers that have not seen improvement rates, mainly lung and pancreatic cancers.
LCA has six local chapters: California, Kentucky/Southern Indiana, Massachusetts, New York, Pennsylvania and Tennessee.
The non-profit endorses medical facilities for safe and effective lung cancer screening protocols across the country, including Alabama, Arizona, California, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, Nebraska, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington, Washington D.C., West Virginia and Wisconsin.