December 10, 2018

Next-Generation Lung Cancer Screening

Lung cancer is a leading cause of cancer death in the United States, primarily because many patients go undiagnosed until symptoms arise in the later stages of the disease. Research shows that early screening with low-dose computed tomography (LDCT) can reduce lung cancer mortality by up to 26% among smokers.

That’s one reason why the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) currently reimburses lung cancer screening (LCS) for asymptomatic patients aged 55 to 77 years with a history of smoking at least 30 pack-years and who are either current smokers or quit less than 15 years ago. Commercial payers reimburse LCS for 55 to 80 year-old patients with the same smoking history.

Despite evidence that LDCT screening improves outcomes of lung cancer patients, only 2–4% of the eligible population is actually getting screened.

To address the gap in patients receiving this potentially life-saving screening, the ACR has formed a Lung Cancer Steering Committee. The goal of the committee is to improve the adoption of LCS among eligible patients and to encourage radiologists to seize this opportunity to contribute to population health.

LCS 2.0

The committee — headed by Debra S. Dyer, MD, FACR, Chair of the Department of Radiology at National Jewish Health — is working to uncover the barriers to adoption of LCS programs by health systems and to help radiologists take a leadership role in implementing screening in their communities. This next-generation initiative is known as LCS 2.0. Read more about Dyer’s take on the importance of LCS 2.0.

“With LCS 2.0, radiologists have an opportunity to become the champions of LCS, to improve patient care and population health and to demonstrate their value to their health systems,” says Becky Haines, MSM, senior director at ACR and staff lead on the steering committee.

Haines points to numerous examples of radiologists who have implemented successful LCS programs in their communities, including leaders at Elkhart General Hospital in Indiana.

Adds Geraldine B. McGinty, MD, MBA, FACR, Chair of the ACR Board of Chancellors, "We cannot miss this opportunity to save thousands of lives through earlier detection of lung cancer. This is a responsibility we must take on as a professional community."

Become an LCS Champion

If you’re ready to take a leadership role in patient care and population health, access these resources to help you get started.

Lung Cancer Screening Resources
ACR is your best resource for safe, effective lung cancer screening with the latest research, toolkits and patient information.

Lung Cancer Screening Registry
Participate in ACR registries to help your facility benchmark outcomes and process-of-care measures and develop quality improvement programs.

Low-Dose CT Lung Cancer Screening FAQ
These questions and answers address coverage and reimbursement requirements relating to patient eligibility, center eligibility, accreditation and billing and payment.

Lung Cancer Screening Education
Learn to implement a lung cancer screening program that applies a patient-centered approach to shared decision making, complies with best practices and helps meet requirements for ACR CT Chest Accreditation.

ACR Designated Lung Cancer Screening Center
Earn ACR Designated Lung Cancer Screening Center status and demonstrate to your referrers and patients that you provide safe, effective care.

American Lung Association: Lung Cancer Screening Implementation Guide
Access a pragmatic guide and toolkit for implementation of LCS programs.

Lung Cancer Alliance: Screening Awareness Campaign
Learn more about the nationwide campaign “What About Your Lungs?” to help drive this important public health initiative.