Two physicians have been recognized for a New York Times op-ed on lung cancer screening in the U.S., according to a Danvers Herald report.
The physicians — Dr. Andrea McKee of Lahey Hospital & Medical Center and Dr. Andrew Salner of Hartford Hospital — received the “2014 Special Recognition Award Global Lung Cancer Coalition Journalism Award” for their September 2014 column “A Cancer Battle We Can Win.”
In the opinion piece, Drs. McKee and Salner note that while lung cancer is curable with surgery when caught in its early stages, most people are diagnosed with lung cancer after symptoms develop. By this time, the disease is often advanced and resistant to treatment. But they note that a recent study showed that annual screening of older people, both current and former heavy smokers, reduced the number of deaths from lung cancer by 20 percent.
“There is, increasingly, a consensus that CT screening for lung cancer can save thousands of lives each year. … We can achieve a solid win against cancer. CT lung screening for high-risk populations, with high quality standards, is ready for prime time.”
The Affordable Care Act began requiring private insurers to cover CT lung screening for those at high risk with no co-pay in January 2015. Medicare also now covers CT lung screenings for beneficiaries at high risk.
Patient engagement and outreach are critical for cancer screening and preventive programs to be effective. But that is only part of the equation. Navigation and care coordination would play an essential role if patients found to have cancer are to receive the treatment they require in an appropriate and timely fashion.