The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) recently announced that screenings for lung cancer with low dose computed tomography (LDCT) will now be covered by Medicare. The coverage is effective immediately.
A long-awaited decision, this is the first time Medicare has covered lung cancer screening and is important news for Medicare patients seeking preventive services.
Medicare beneficiaries who meet the required criteria will be eligible for annual lung cancer screenings with LDCT. To be eligible, patients must meet all of these criteria:
- Age 55-77, and are either current smokers or have quit smoking within the last 15 years;
- Have a tobacco smoking history of an average of one pack a day for 30 years; and
- Receive a written order from a physician or qualified non-physician practitioner that meets certain requirements.
Coverage includes a counseling visit and shared decision-making on the benefits and risks of lung cancer screening. To learn more about Medicare coverage for lung cancer screening with LDCT, you can read the official announcement here.
As the leading cause of cancer deaths in the U.S., lung cancer is one of Illinois CyberKnife’s most frequently treated diseases. Our team is excited about the CMS coverage decision and the access to a crucial preventive service it will provide to patients considered at high-risk for developing lung cancer. A key goal of low-dose CT screening for lung cancer is detection of early stage disease, when the cancer is more likely not to have spread and is typically considered easier to treat.
If you or a loved one is screened for lung cancer and the disease is detected, contact us to learn about stereotactic body radiation therapy with CyberKnife as a potential treatment option. You can also learn more about how our clinical team treats lung cancer non-invasively in five or fewer outpatient treatment sessions with CyberKnife technology by visiting our conditions treated page or reading our blog series on lung cancer here.
This is not intended as medical advice to replace the expertise and judgment of your health care team. It is intended to help you and your family make informed decisions, together with your doctor.