MEDCAC sets agenda for CT lung cancer screening meeting

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services has released its agenda for its April 30 meeting of the Medicare Evidence Development and Coverage Advisory Committee (MEDCAC) to review the evidence on CT lung cancer screening, and the list of speakers is a veritable who's who of radiologists closely involved with the issue.

Among the radiologists invited to speak are Michael McNitt-Gray, from the University of California, Los Angeles; Charles White, from the University of Maryland; Claudia Henschke, from Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York City; and Ella Kazerooni from the University of Michigan and chair of the American College of Radiology Committee on Lung Cancer Screening.

Kazerooni will urge MEDCAC to recommend national Medicare coverage of low-dose CT screening for patients at high risk for lung cancer. "Lung cancer kills more people each year than breast, colon and prostate cancers combined," Kazerooni said in an announcement. "For these other three cancers, there are well established and accepted screening tests and programs. MedCAC should recommend, and CMS should implement, broad national coverage for CT lung cancer screening so that those at high risk can be tested and thousands of people each year can be saved from this terrible disease." 

Rita Redberg of the University of California, San Francisco--who recently spoke to FierceMedicalImaging about medical imaging and radiation exposure--will head the MEDCAC panel.

The panel will be particularly interested in listening to evidence on how to identify patients eligible for screening; the appropriate frequency and duration of screening; the provider and facility characteristics that predict benefits or harm from screening; and the precise criteria needed to identify a test as positive and the impact of false positive results and follow-up tests or treatments.

In December, the United States Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) finalized its recommendation that individuals at high risk for lung cancer undergo annual low-dose lung CT screening. The final recommendation followed USPSTF's draft recommendation issued in July that adults ages 55 through 79 with a 30 pack-year smoking history (or have quit in the past 15 years) undergo screening.

In a letter sent March 12 to Tamara S. Syrek Jensen, acting director of CMS' coverage and analysis group, ACR and 40 other medical organizations said they "strongly support national coverage for lung cancer screening of high risk individuals with lose dose computed tomography in light of the robust scientific evidence outline in the United States Preventive Services Task Force's final [B] recommendation."

The meeting can be watched live on CMS' website April 30 beginning at 7:30 a.m. ET.

To learn more:
- see the MEDCAC agenda
- read the announcement from ACR

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