Guidelines

The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommends lung cancer screening by low-dose CT for those at high risk. The USPSTF defines high risk as being between the ages of 55 and 80 with at least a 30 pack-year smoking history. Most insurance companies cover screening for people who meet these age and smoking history qualifiers. Former smokers who meet these age and smoking history criteria and who quit within the past 15 years may also be good lung cancer screening candidates. For more information about the USPSTF lung cancer screening recommendations, visit:
http://www.uspreventiveservicestaskforce.org/uspstf/uspslung.htm

The National Comprehensive Cancer Network has published similar guidelines, but by taking other risk factors into consideration, the NCCN relaxes both age and smoking history for people with another risk factor, such as radon exposure or having a family member with a history of lung cancer. With an additional qualifying risk factor, the NCCN recommends low-dose CT scan for people 50 years and with a minimum smoking history of 20 pack years. (Compared to USPSTF recommendation of age 55 with a 30 pack-year smoking history.) Both the USPSTF and the NCCN recommend lung cancer screening for former smokers who meet these age and smoking history criteria and who quit within the past 15 years. For more information about the NCCN’s lung cancer screening guidelines, visit:
http://www.nccn.org/patients/guidelines/lung_screening/index.html

Under Medicare screening guidelines, high-risk patients are 100% covered with no co-pay for annual low-dose CT scans from the age of 55-77. The other qualifying conditions include a minimum 30-pack-year smoking history. Those who are former smokers also qualify unless it has been more than 15 years since they quit smoking. For details about Medicare guidelines, visit:

http://www.cms.gov/medicare-coverage-database/details/nca-decision-memo.aspx?NCAId=274

Updated 5/26/2015

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