A cancer screening flop: Few smokers seek free lung scans
NEWYORK » Lung cancer screening has proved to be stunningly unpopular. Five years after government and private insurers started paying for it, less than 2 percent of eligible current and former smokers have sought the free scans, researchers report.
The study didn’t explore why, but experts say possible explanations include worries about false alarms and follow-up tests, a doctor visit to get the scans covered, fear and denial of the consequences of smoking and little knowledge that screening exists.
“People are not aware that this is a test that can actually save lives,” said Dr. Richard Schilsky. “It’s not invasive, it’s not painful, there’s no prep (and) nothing has to be stuck into any body cavity,” so to see so little use “is shocking.”
Schilsky is chief medical officer of the American Society of Clinical Oncology, which released the study Wednesday in advance of the group’s meeting next month.