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Lung Cancer Screening With Low-Dose CT Could Be Cost Effective, Study Finds

Update Date: Nov 11, 2014 10:02 AM EST

Lung cancer screening in the National Lung Screening Trial meets commonly accepted standard for cost effectiveness, according to a new study. 

The newly devised screening test uses annual low-dose CT scans to spot lung tumors early in individuals facing the highest risks of lung cancer due to age and smoking history. 

"The takeaway from this study is that there is potential for lung cancer screening to be done in a cost-effective manner, particularly for adults 65-75 years of age," said William C. Black, MD, chair of the Lung Cancer Screening Group at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center and professor of Radiology, of Community & Family Medicine, and of The Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy and Clinical Practice, Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth, in the press release.

According to the study screening costs $81,000 for each quality-adjusted year of life it produces. 

The study also found that lung cancer screening was most cost-effective for current smokers, women and for people in their sixties. 

"Although precision with subsets is not as good as overall, people at higher risk seemed to benefit more from screening, so, for example, current smokers benefited much more than people who had quit," said Black.

The study is reported in the New England Journal of Medicine. 

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