Annual lung cancer screening with computed tomography for high risk populations/patients has been shown to contribute to a 20% reduction in mortality.1 This Web site collects a variety of resources regarding lung cancer screening.
A typical lung cancer screening program involves multiple departments including radiology, oncology, thoracic surgery, and pulmonology.
In oncology, earlier detection means more lung cancers can be found at stages I and II – these are stages where the disease is less complex with higher survivability. Earlier detection of lung cancer carries the obvious benefit of improving outcomes for patients and the less-obvious benefit of decreasing the cost of care because cancer treatment at early stages can be less complex.2,3
Likewise in thoracic surgery these efforts could lead to increased need for biopsies and/or lung resections.
Finally, in pulmonology, heavy smokers are likely to have significant chronic conditions of the lung such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
Technology and Workflow
The industry’s most comprehensive approach to low dose lung cancer screening
Most SOMATOM computed tomography (CT) and Biograph PET/CT systems are now indicated for low dose lung cancer screening. Siemens offers the industry’s most comprehensive approach to low dose lung cancer screening. This is enabled on most of Siemens’ new CT and PET/CT scanners as well as on the company’s installed base of non-end-of-support scanners, using the standard low-dose lung protocol.*
PET/CT scanning is already a critical tool to help physicians detect and stage lung cancer to determine the appropriate treatment and monitor therapy response. Now Siemens latest PET/CT scanners can be leveraged as a shared service model to support screening efforts to drive operational efficiencies to reduce patient wait times and enable scheduling flexibility— ultimately to improve patient outcomes and support additional downstream revenue streams.
The protocol meets the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) technical requirements for lung cancer screening, “[the facility must perform] LDCT with volumetric CT dose index (CTDIvol) of ≤3.0 mGy (milliGray) for standard size patients (defined to be 5’ 7” and approximately 155 pounds) with appropriate reductions in CTDIvol for smaller patients and appropriate increases in CTDIvol for larger patients .”4
Facts about lung cancer
In 2015, the National Cancer Institute (NCI) estimates that there could be as many as 221,200 newly diagnosed cases of lung cancer and 158,000 deaths from lung cancer.5 Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer-related death. In fact, lung cancer kills more people than other prominently screened for cancers such as breast, colon and prostate cancers – combined (117,680).2
Why is lung cancer so deadly?
The high mortality associated with lung cancer is driven by two factors, the prevalence, or how common the cancer is among the general population and the survival rate, or likelihood of surviving a diagnosis. Only breast and prostate cancers are more prevalent than lung cancer (232,350 and 220,800 annual new diagnoses respectively).6 However, the 5-year survival rates for breast and prostate cancer are significantly higher than lung cancer. As of 2006, the 5 year survival rates for the five most common cancers were: breast, 90%, prostate, 100%, lung, 16%, colorectal, 67% and bladder, 81%. Lung cancer is the clear outlier, and the difference is even more striking if you look at these survival rates in 1970: breast, 75%; prostate, 69%; lung, 13%; colorectal, 51%; and bladder, 74%. From 1970 to 2006, the 5 year survival rate for lung cancer has only increased by a paltry 3%. 7
The low survival rate is due to the fact that lung cancer is typically asymptomatic in early stages and the survival rate in late stages range from 14% to 1%.3 A secondary reason is that, until now, a screening test for lung cancer did not exist. The NLST trial and subsequent insurance coverage of lung cancer screening, including coverage for Medicare beneficiaries has the potential to increase the likelihood of early detection.