Forum evaluates U.S. plan for lung cancer
Physicians and public health experts from multiple healthcare specialties met in Washington, D.C. this month to work toward a comprehensive approach to battling lung cancer in the U.S., at a forum titled "Out of the Shadows: Lung Cancer and Screening."

Hosted by the Washington, D.C. non-profits Lung Cancer Alliance and Legacy, the forum included oncologists, radiologists, surgical oncologists, researchers and Legacy executives. The panel focused largely on the potential impact of the National Cancer Institute’s (NCI) lung cancer screening trial, which associated lung CT screening with a 20 percent reduction in mortality.

"The NCI's finding is one of the most important public health events in my lifetime," said Cheryl Healton, PhD, MPA, CEO of Legacy, a public health organization that focuses on the effects of tobacco use. "This is not a minor shift at the margins of public health. This is a transformational event that provides an opportunity to save thousands of lives almost immediately," Healton continued.

Other members of the panel touted chest CT for the evaluation of coronary artery disease.

The panel was moderated by Susan Dentzer, editor-in-chief of Health Affairs and an analyst for the PBS NewsHour.

The forum also emphasized a social justice component to lung cancer, pointing to unequal cancer rates and access to treatment among military veterans, low-income populations, minorities and immigrants.

“These issues are critical to define in preparation for the upcoming United States Preventative Service Task Force (USPSTF) review of the scientific evidence, since that review will ultimately determine whether screening will be covered by Medicare and public and private insurance,” detailed a statement from the forum, released by Legacy.

The forum was held at the Kaiser Family Foundation in Washington, D.C., on May 9, but can be viewed online by clicking here.