A can­cer screen­ing flop: Few smok­ers seek free lung scans

The Oneida Daily Dispatch (Oneida, NY) - - Weather -

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.

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