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February 28, 2015 - 4:58pm | 48°F
   
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Medicare to Cover
Lung Cancer Screening

U.S. health regulators approved Medicare coverage for lung cancer screening by low-dose CT, according to an article published by Reuters on February 5, 2015.  This is the first time the government health insurance program for the elderly and disabled will pay for such a program of early detection in an effort to save lives.

The decision applies to Medicare beneficiaries aged 55-77 who are current smokers or who quit within the last 15 years, and who racked up at least 30 "pack years." The latter is possible if they smoked one pack a day for 30 years, for instance, two packs a day for 15 or three packs a day for a decade.

The coverage is effective immediately, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services announced, and applies nationwide.

In a statement, CMS chief medical officer Dr. Patrick Conway called the decision to pay for a once-a-year screening "an important new Medicare preventive benefit since lung cancer is the third most common cancer and the leading cause of cancer deaths in the United States."

The usually-incurable disease will kill about 158,000 people in the U.S. this year, according to the American Cancer Society; 221,200 cases will be diagnosed.

For more information, click here.

 

 

FWCC Researcher Publishes Findings on
Troubling Statistics for Patients Post-
Mastectomy

Breast cancer patients who undergo a mastectomy should receive subsequent radiation treatment if their cancer has spread to four or more nearby lymph nodes.  However, according to a new study, only 65 percent of these women are getting the recommended postmastectomy radiation therapy (PMRT).

The researchers looked at nearly 57,000 cases of breast cancer, and their study has been published as an "article in press" on the Journal of the American College of Surgeons website in advance of print publication this spring.

Several studies have found that PMRT reduces the risk of breast cancer recurrence and improves survival in patients whose cancer is "locally advanced" with a pathologic stage of N2 or N3 using the American Joint Committee on Cancer (AJCC) staging system.

"My colleagues and I were quite startled by the finding that a third of patients with N2/N3 disease did not receive PMRT, which is the standard of care," said lead author Quyen D. Chu, MD, MBA, FACS, professor of surgery at Louisiana State University (LSU) Health Sciences Center, Shreveport.

To read the entire report, click here.

 

 

 
 
 
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