CENTER VALLEY, Pa. (May 24, 2022) - Olympus, a global leader in designing and delivering innovative medical technology solutions, announced its support for the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) decision to expand lung cancer screening eligibility for those covered by Medicare. The national coverage determination aligns with recommendations of the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF), lowering the starting age for screening from 55 to 50 and reducing the threshold for smoking history from 30 pack years to 20.i
This expanded eligibility aims to improve the health outcomes for patients with non-small cell lung cancer by allowing physicians to detect and diagnose lung cancer at an earlier stage. Lung cancer symptoms usually do not appear until the disease is already at an advanced stage, and detection in its later stages makes the prognosis poor. When found early before symptoms appear, the disease is more likely to be treatable, and the patient's chance of survival increases significantly.ii The five-year lung cancer survival rate is only 6% for those diagnosed at a late stage after the tumor spreads but increases to 60% for those diagnosed at an early stage before the tumor has spread.iii
"The expanded CMS coverage is a significant benefit to at-risk populations covered by Medicare. Earlier screening and detection may save the lives of those diagnosed with non-small cell lung cancer," said Paul Skodny, Executive Director of Global Health Economics and Market Access at Olympus Corporation of the Americas. "Still, there is much work to be done to align CMS coverage through Medicare and Medicaid with lung cancer screening guidance so that the barriers to screening are eliminated."
The current national screening rate for those considered at high risk stands at only 5.7 percent.iv People who should be screened may not know that they are eligible to be screened, according to recent research on barriers to lung cancer screening that highlights the failure of the electronic medical record to notify providers of patient eligibility for screening. This barrier is made higher by variable awareness about the screening guidelines among primary care providers.v
Lung cancer screening via annual low dose computed tomography (LDCT) scans is the standard of care for those who are at high risk, which includes current and former smokers. When carried out as recommended by professional societies, lung cancer screening programs should include patient counseling about the screening process to determine eligibility and to help patients share in the decision making about their care.vi
When patients are screened, most suspicious tumors are seen in the hard-to-reach outer third of the lungs, known as the peripheral lung.vii Being able to reach and sample these tumors allows physicians to diagnose and stage the disease accurately, should the tumor be cancerous. With that critical pathological information, physicians can provide patients with the best treatment options and most favorable prognosis.viii, ix, x
Through its portfolio of products, Olympus is committed to improving the care pathway for lung cancer patients. The company's minimally invasive technologies are intended to advance the standard of care for detecting and diagnosing this deadly disease. Both the SPiN Thoracic Navigation System™ and radial EBUS (endobronchial ultrasound) procedures are designed for locating and sampling peripheral lung nodules. The EBUS-TBNA (endobronchial ultrasound-transbronchial needle aspiration) procedure uses a bronchoscope equipped with ultrasound capability designed to visualize lymph nodes beyond the bronchus and determine their exact location for needle aspiration. The 2013 CHEST guidelines recommend EBUS-TBNA over surgical staging (mediastinoscopy) as the best first procedure.xi
Olympus uses innovative capabilities in medical technology, therapeutic intervention, and precision manufacturing to help healthcare professionals deliver diagnostic, therapeutic, and minimally invasive procedures to improve clinical outcomes, reduce overall costs, and enhance the quality of life for patients. Olympus' Medical portfolio includes endoscopes, laparoscopes, and video imaging systems, as well as surgical energy devices, system integration solutions, medical services, and a wide range of EndoTherapy instruments. For more information, visit https://medical.olympusamerica.com.
- Final Recommendation Statement Lung Cancer: Screening. U.S. Preventive Services Task Force. Published March 9, 2021. Accessed May 20, 2022. https://www.uspreventiveservicestaskforce.org/uspstf/recommendation/lung-cancer-screening
- National Cancer Institute. Surveillance Research Program, SEER*Explorer interactive website. https://seer.cancer.gov/explorer/
- https://www.lung.org/research/state-of-lung-cancer/key-findings American Lung Association, State of the Lung Cancer 2020 Report, accessed August 2021
- Coughlin JM, Zang Y, Terranella S, et al. Understanding barriers to lung cancer screening in primary care. J Thorac Dis. 2020;12(5):2536-2544. doi:10.21037/jtd.2020.03.66
- Mazzone PJ, Silvestri GA, Souter LH, Caverly TJ, Kanne JP, Katki HA, Wiener RS, Detterbeck FC. Executive Summary: Screening for Lung Cancer: Chest Guideline and Expert Panel Report. Chest. 2021 Nov;160(5):1959-1980. doi: 10.1016/j.chest.2021.07.003. Epub 2021 Jul 13. PMID: 34270965; PMCID: PMC8727851.
- Horeweg N, van der Aalst CM, Thunnissen E, Nackaerts K, Weenink C, Groen HJ, Lammers JW, Aerts JG, Scholten ET, van Rosmalen J, Mali W, Oudkerk M, de Koning HJ. Characteristics of lung cancers detected by computer tomography screening in the randomized NELSON trial. Am J Respir Crit Care Med. 2013 Apr 15;187(8):848-54. doi: 10.1164/rccm.201209-1651OC. PMID: 23348977
- Steinfort D P, Siva S, Leong T L, Rose M, Herath D, Antippa P, et al. Systematic Endobronchial Ultrasound-guided Mediastinal Staging Versus Positron Emission Tomography for Comprehensive Mediastinal Staging in NSCLC Before Radical Radiotherapy of Non-small Cell Lung Cancer: A Pilot Study. Medicine (Baltimore) 2016;95:e2488. doi: 10.1097/md.0000000000002488
- Guarize J, Casiraghi M, Donghi S, Casadio C, Diotti C, Filippi N, et al. EBUS-TBNA in PET-positive lymphadenopathies in treated cancer patients. ERJ Open Res 2017;3. doi: 10.1183/23120541.00009-2017.
- Jantz M A. Lung cancer staging: accuracy is critical. J Thoracic Disease 2019:S1322-S1324. doi: 10.21037/jtd.2019.04.18
- Silvestri G A, Gonzalez A V, Jantz M A, Margolis M L, Gould M K, Tanoue L T, et al. Methods for staging non-small cell lung cancer: Diagnosis and management of lung cancer, 3rd ed: American College of Chest Physicians evidence-based clinical practice guidelines. Chest 2013;143:e211S-e250S. doi: 10.1378/chest.12-2355.