On February 6, 2015, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) confirmed their decision to reimburse lung cancer screening for individuals who meet certain criteria. Studies suggest that screening can improve survival from early detection of lung cancer by as much as 20 percent. Medicare’s decision outlines specific quality metrics that medical centers and providers need to adhere to.
Mani Kavuru, MD, Director of the Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine at Thomas Jefferson University and Director of the Korman Lung Center at Jefferson, is available to speak about the impact of the final decision, screening criteria and the logistics of implementing a multidisciplinary low-dose CT screening program.
“Early detection is the future of lung cancer care and the way to meaningfully impact on survival. In addition to smoking cessation, low dose CT scans can identify early-stage, resectable lung cancer,” said Dr. Kavuru. “From a clinical perspective, this is the most significant development for patients with lung cancer. Implementing a screening program is our opportunity and responsibility to save lives.”
The Jane and Leonard Korman Lung Center at Thomas Jefferson University developed a screening program in 2012. This unique program offers unique, one-day service based on screening methods for lung cancer in high-risk patients. Patients who meet the criteria attend an appointment including shared-decision making to review the risks and benefits of screening. If the patient decides to move forward, they are offered a low-dose CT scan, which has less than a third of the radiation of a standard CT. Following the scan, the patient attends a consultation with a pulmonologist to review the results. Then, special emphasis is placed on smoking cessation in current smokers. Jefferson’s program is multi-disciplinary and involves primary care, radiology, pulmonology, thoracic surgery and oncology.
Dr. Kavuru was integral to the development of this innovative, multidisciplinary program. Dr. Kavuru has 24 years in practice and is board certified in pulmonary disease, critical care medicine and internal medicine. His research and clinical interests include asthma, sarcoidosis, pulmonary alveolar proteinosis and rare lung disease. Dr. Kavuru has been a long-time proponent of lung cancer screening in high risk patients.