Published on March 11, 2021

Lung Cancer Screening Eligibility Expanded

The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) this week announced updated recommendations defining who should be screened for lung cancer, doubling the number of eligible Americans to approximately 15 million.

The new guidelines decrease the age and pack year requirements, recommending individuals who meet the below requirements be screened annually:

•    Are 50-80 years old, AND
•    Have at least a 20 pack year smoking history, AND
•    Are currently smoking or have quit within the last 15 years

Genesis Pulmonology Associates and Silvis Pulmonology are offering the recommended low-dose computed tomography (LDCT) screening for qualified patients. This is a non-invasive procedure requiring only a few minutes. The screenings are scheduled at Genesis imaging locations.

With the recommendation from the task force, private insurers are required to cover the service at no cost to the patient. Medicare and private insurers may take up to 12 months to adopt the new coverage requirement.

"This is exciting news that additional at-risk patients were identified for screening. The Genesis Lung Cancer Screening Program will be focusing our efforts to include this population with a goal of catching early-stage lung cancer,” said Brian Witt, M.D., medical director for the Genesis program.

Lung cancer screening is a test to look for lung cancer before a person displays any
symptoms, helping to identify potential cancers at an early stage.

According to the National Cancer Institute, lung cancer killed more than 135,000 people in the United States in 2020. As the leading cause of cancer deaths in both men and women, early detection is key to improving outcomes for patients diagnosed with lung cancer. The expanded screening guidelines will help to identify potential lung cancers earlier, which can increase the five-year survival rate by 55%.
In October 2020, Genesis Health System expanded its lung cancer screening program to include care coordination for all screened patients.

Patients with a positive screening may also be referred to the newly established Lung Nodule Clinic, a service provided by pulmonologists at Genesis Pulmonary Associates and Silvis Pulmonology offices. The Genesis pulmonary team works with each patient to determine if positive findings are suspicious for cancer or benign.
Patients interested in being screened for lung cancer are encouraged to talk to their primary care providers or call the Genesis Lung Cancer Screening Program at (563) 421-LUNG (5864) for more information.