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Study Finds CT Lung Screening Cost-Effective

Update Date: Nov 06, 2014 11:05 AM EST

Performing low-dose computerized tomography screening can be cost-effective compared to doing no screening for lung cancer in aging smokers, according to a new statistical analysis.

"This provides evidence, given the assumptions we used, that it is cost-effective," said Ilana Gareen, assistant professor (research) of epidemiology in Brown University's School of Public Health and second author on the new study, in the press release.

The researchers concluded that, "whether screening outside the trial will be cost-effective will depend on how screening is implemented." 

This is because, like all cost-effectiveness analyses, the derivation of the $81,000 ratio involved many assumptions. When the researchers varied their assumptions or conducted analyses of cost-effectiveness in some subgroups of patients, they found that the resulting ratios varied widely-sometimes improving but sometimes reducing the cost-effectiveness, the press release added. 

Researchers also noted that the ration became more favorable when they assumed that some diagnoses of lung cancer assumed to be "excess" were cancers that would have impacted participant life expectancy, as opposed to being benign forms of lung cancer.

The analysis was published in the New England Journal of Medicine.

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