A recent study to be published in the Annals of Internal Medicine and reported by Science Digest concluded that medicare beneficiaries should not be excluded from screening. In the study researchers analyzed the benefits and harm of screening by age and found that even though smoking is the most important risk factor for lung cancer there was a reduction in lung cancer mortality in high risk populations who were randomly assigned to low-dose computed topography (LDCT) verses chest radiography. Age was found to be the most important factor for lung cancer following smoking. Subsequently, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommended annual lung cancer screening with LDCT for people aged 55 to 80 who had ever smoked.
A second study of the data compared screening outcomes among Medicare-eligible people with those under the age of 65. Findings showed that both cancer prevalence and positive predictive value of lung cancer screening with LDCT were higher in the 65 plus group than in the under 65 group. Researchers recommend sharing the age related findings with data with those in the high risk group (smoking and age factors).