Are USPSTF lung cancer screening recommendations reaching patients?

The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) recommendation for lung cancer screening finalized last year has been slow to gain the awareness and notoriety of other cancer screening recommendations, according to a panel discussion on non-small cell lung cancer conducted by The American Journal of Manage Care (AJMC).

Last year, the USPSTF recommended annual lung cancer screenings with low-dose CT for adults aged 55-80 years who have smoked 30 pack years. The draft recommendation, released July 29, 2013, and the finalized recommendation issued on Dec. 31, 2013, both received a high level of press attention.

Despite the press, screenings for lung cancer did not see a surge similar to that of other highly-publicized screening efforts for breast and colon cancers, said Corey J. Langer, MD, professor of medicine, Abrahamson Cancer Center, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, during the panel discussion.

“It’s amazing how few patients or family members are aware of this,” Langer said. “The impact and the general notice of the [National Lung Screening Trial] has not penetrated.”

The panel discussion also included David J. Sugarbaker, MD, chief of thoracic surgery at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, and Steven Peskin, MD, senior medical director, Horizon Healthcare Innovations, Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield New Jersey. The discussion was led by Michael Chernew, PhD, a health economist at Harvard University and co-editor-in-chief of AJMC.

The full discussion can be heard here.