Dan Raz, M.D., is available to comment on the abstract being presented at ASCO that estimates the cost to Medicare of low-dose CT scan screening for lung cancer.

The study presented in the ASCO abstract attempts to estimate costs of lung cancer screening in the Medicare population using modeling data and several assumptions.

In my opinion, this probably overestimates the costs of lung cancer screening because lung cancer screening centers are using resources more efficiently than they were during the National Lung Screening Trial. There are fewer false positives and fewer invasive procedures needed, and this means less costs.

This study also estimates the dollar cost per beneficiary to be three times what an independent actuarial group, Milliman, reported in Health Affairs using a different model. Other cost studies have shown that lung cancer screening with low dose CT scans to be less expensive than mammography or colorectal cancer screening, while the potential for lives saved is far greater with lung cancer screening.