Free lung cancer screening program builds valuable relationships with patients

January 24, 2019

Augusta, Ga. (Jan. 24, 2019) - A free, simple screening for lung cancer can save a patient money, while building a healthy relationship for any medical needs they may have in the future. The research, published in the Annals of Thoracic Surgery, shows the partnership can be beneficial for patients looking for cardiology specialists, family medical care and other health-related issues, as well as for medical facilities that offer the free screening.

"Our mission is to find lung cancer earlier," said Dr. Carsten Schroeder, thoracic surgical oncologist at the Georgia Cancer Center and Medical College of Georgia at Augusta University. "If we find a nodule in the lung that's in the later stages, survival rate is much worse than if we find it earlier."

In the paper, titled "Financial analysis of free lung cancer screening shows profitability using broader NCCN Guidelines," Schroeder and his team analyzed fiscal years 2015-17 to evaluate indirect cost, direct cost and adjusted net margin per case after factoring downstream revenue from treating patients with positive scans and other findings.

"In all, we have 1,600 people on the screening list," Schroeder said. "Of those, 1,200 have actually had a scan. In just over 2 percent of those patients, we found lung cancer. The remaining 400 people do not meet the necessary criteria."

The idea to develop the free lung screen program started after a major research paper was published in the summer of 2011. The National Cancer Institute's National Lung Screening Trial, which included 50,000 people, showed a computerized tomography (CT) screening is better than chest x-ray for screening for lung cancer.

"There was a 20 percent increase in the survival rate for those patients who had the CT screening," Schroeder said. "This paper was the one that served as a catalyst for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to start covering the cost of the screening for patients."

While patients do not need to have health insurance to qualify for the lung screening program, there are some criteria they must meet, including:

Group 1:Group 2: For his research, Schroeder and his team looked at the costs from a total of 705 scans. Of that 705, 418 patients were referred for follow-up procedures and specialist evaluations. The adjusted net margin per case was -$212 in the first year but turned positive to $177 in the third fiscal year.

One major factor influencing the profitability of a free screening, is the ability to use the National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) guidelines, which covers Group 2 of eligible patients. Currently, no other hospitals or medical centers in Augusta's River Region can use NCCN guidelines because they charge patients for a lung screening. Using the NCCN guidelines allowed Schroeder and his team to detect twice the number of lung cancers than if they had only screened Group 1.

"Our free lung screening program is a win for the communities we serve and for the hospital system," Schroeder said. "We bring them in for a free screening, which serves as a starting point for their medical care and health needs for the rest of their lives."
-end-


Medical College of Georgia at Augusta University

Related Lung Cancer Articles from Brightsurf:

State-level lung cancer screening rates not aligned with lung cancer burden in the US
A new study reports that state-level lung cancer screening rates were not aligned with lung cancer burden.

The lung microbiome may affect lung cancer pathogenesis and prognosis
Enrichment of the lungs with oral commensal microbes was associated with advanced stage disease, worse prognosis, and tumor progression in patients with lung cancer, according to results from a study published in Cancer Discovery, a journal of the American Association for Cancer Research.

New analysis finds lung cancer screening reduces rates of lung cancer-specific death
Low-dose CT screening methods may prevent one death per 250 at-risk adults screened, according to a meta-analysis of eight randomized controlled clinical trials of lung cancer screening.

'Social smokers' face disproportionate risk of death from lung disease and lung cancer
'Social smokers' are more than twice as likely to die of lung disease and more than eight times as likely to die of lung cancer than non-smokers, according to research presented at the European Respiratory Society International Congress.

Lung cancer therapy may improve outcomes of metastatic brain cancer
A medication commonly used to treat non-small cell lung cancer that has spread, or metastasized, may have benefits for patients with metastatic brain cancers, suggests a new review and analysis led by researchers at St.

Cancer mortality continues steady decline, driven by progress against lung cancer
The cancer death rate declined by 29% from 1991 to 2017, including a 2.2% drop from 2016 to 2017, the largest single-year drop in cancer mortality ever reported.

Cancer-sniffing dogs 97% accurate in identifying lung cancer, according to study in JAOA
The next step will be to further fractionate the samples based on chemical and physical properties, presenting them back to the dogs until the specific biomarkers for each cancer are identified.

Lung transplant patients face elevated lung cancer risk
In an American Journal of Transplantation study, lung cancer risk was increased after lung transplantation, especially in the native (non-transplanted) lung of single lung transplant recipients.

Proposed cancer treatment may boost lung cancer stem cells, study warns
Epigenetic therapies -- targeting enzymes that alter what genes are turned on or off in a cell -- are of growing interest in the cancer field as a way of making a cancer less aggressive or less malignant.

Are you at risk for lung cancer?
This question isn't only for people who've smoked a lot.

Read More: Lung Cancer News and Lung Cancer Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.