|What Caught Our Eye (WCOE) Each week, we take a closer look at the cancer policy articles, studies, and stories that caught our attention.|
Several outlets such as NPR, Vox, Time, and NBC News reported on newly released findings from the Journal of the American Medical Association that state about two thirds of early stage breast cancer patients may be getting more radiation treatment than needed and radiology oncologists are not utilizing the new course of treatment that could take less time and cost less for many women. The research suggests that, among other factors, one reason for the lack of use is the financial incentives associated with the longer and more invasive course of treatment.
Published this week in The New York Times ‘Well Blog,’ Jane Brody thoughtfully examines in “For Lung Cancer Screening, a Small Dose of Hope,” the pros and cons of low-dose computed tomography (LDCT) lung cancer screening on the heels of the CMS decision to provide free screening to many Medicare insured Americans. Brody cites research that LDCT could prevent three lung cancer deaths for every 1,000 people screened, and given the millions of people at risk, that could translate into many lives saved. However, she notes with Dr. Peter Bach’s consultation, that for the benefits demonstrated in the trial to be realized, screening would have to be limited to people at high risk of developing lung cancer and the most common risk of the screening is a false-postive result as up to half of lung nodules seen on LDCT turn out not to be cancer.