Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services Announce Coverage for Low Dose Computed Tomography Lung Cancer Screenings 

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) recently announced that screenings for lung cancer with low dose computed tomography (LDCT) will now be covered by Medicare. The coverage is effective immediately. 

A long-awaited decision, this is the first time Medicare has covered lung cancer screening and is important news for Medicare patients seeking preventive services. 

Medicare beneficiaries who meet the required criteria will be eligible for annual lung cancer screenings with LDCT. To be eligible, patients must meet all of these criteria: 

  • Age 55-77, and are either current smokers or have quit smoking within the last 15 years;
  • Have a tobacco smoking history of an average of one pack a day for 30 years; and
  • Receive a written order from a physician or qualified non-physician practitioner that meets certain requirements.

Coverage includes a counseling visit and shared decision-making on the benefits and risks of lung cancer screening. To learn more about Medicare coverage for lung cancer screening with LDCT, you can read the official announcement here.

As the leading cause of cancer deaths in the U.S., lung cancer is one of Columbus CyberKnife’s most frequently treated diseases. Our team is excited about the CMS coverage decision and the access to a crucial preventive service it will provide to patients considered at high-risk for developing lung cancer. A key goal of low-dose CT screening for lung cancer is detection of early stage disease, when the cancer is more likely not to have spread and is typically considered easier to treat.

If you or a loved one is screened for lung cancer and the disease is detected, contact us to learn about stereotactic body radiation therapy with CyberKnife as a potential treatment option. You can also learn more about how our clinical team treats lung cancer non-invasively in five or fewer outpatient treatment sessions with CyberKnife technology by visiting our conditions treated page or reading our blog series on lung cancer here.

This is not intended as medical advice to replace the expertise and judgment of your health care team. It is intended to help you and your family make informed decisions, together with your doctor.

Early-Stage Lung Cancer: Study Shows Effectiveness of SBRT

Researchers at the Cleveland Clinic recently completed a decade-long study that followed long-term toxicity results in patients treated with stereotactic body radiation therapy for medically inoperable, early-stage lung cancer.

The study demonstrated that SBRT can reduce the growth and spread of a primary, early-stage lung tumor while minimizing radiation exposure to healthy tissue.

The data from this study provided substantial evidence that treatment with SBRT for early-stage lung cancer results in no high-grade toxicity in the majority of patients treated and provides additional support for SBRT as a viable treatment option for this type of disease. Read the full study here.

Columbus CyberKnife uses SBRT to treat primary and metastatic lung tumors with CyberKnife® technology, an advanced radiosurgery platform that delivers tightly controlled, high-dose radiation to tumors without sedation or incisions. For patients with medically inoperable lung tumors who are seeking a treatment method that may have a low impact on quality of life, treatment with CyberKnife may be an important option. Click here to learn more about key benefits, or contact our center to learn more about SBRT as a treatment option.

This is not intended as medical advice to replace the expertise and judgment of your health care team. It is intended to help you and your family make informed decisions, together with your doctor.

Lung Cancer Awareness Month: Spotlight on Metastatic Cancer

November is National Lung Cancer Awareness Month, a time to quit smoking, educate loved ones and raise awareness for the leading cause of cancer deaths in men and women.

More than 9,700 Ohio residents will be diagnosed with lung cancer in 2014, according to the American Cancer Society. If lung cancer is discovered at a later stage, it may have metastasized, or spread, to another area of the body.

Metastatic cancer occurs when cancerous cells spread from a primary cancer site to other parts of the body and is associated with late stage cancer. For those with advanced lung cancer, it may be difficult to determine the best option for treating metastatic tumors. According to the National Cancer Institute, lung cancer most commonly spreads to the adrenal glands, bone, brain, liver or other lung.

Columbus CyberKnife treats patients with metastatic lung cancer with stereotactic body radiation therapy. Our center uses CyberKnife® to non-surgically treat tumors and metastatic lesions, which can be particularly beneficial for patients receiving additional treatment concurrently. Stereotactic body radiation therapy can be paired with other treatment methods such as chemotherapy.

For more information on metastatic lung cancer, contact our center at (614) 898-8300.

This is not intended as medical advice to replace the expertise and judgment of your health care team. It is intended to help you and your family make informed decisions, together with your doctor.

When Cancer Spreads to the Lungs: How Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy Can Help

Cancer can spread, or metastasize, in several ways including through the lymph system, through the blood or through tissue. When primary cancer develops in an area of the body and spreads to another organ, it is called metastatic cancer.

Cancers that commonly metastasize to the lungs include breast cancer, prostate cancer and kidney cancer, among others. If the primary cancer metastasizes to the lungs, stereotactic body radiation therapy with the CyberKnife® can be a treatment option for some patients.

Patients and their physicians may choose CyberKnife treatment for lung metastases due to fewer side effects, shorter treatment times and because either the patient is not a candidate for surgery or chooses not to have an invasive procedure for their cancer treatment.

CyberKnife technology provides treatment of lung tumors and metastatic lesions while carrying a low risk of side effects. If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with cancer, investigate all options available before seeking treatment. Contact us to learn more about how our center treats lung cancer.

This is not intended as medical advice to replace the expertise and judgment of your health care team. It is intended to help you and your family make informed decisions, together with your doctor.

Columbus CyberKnife Reports Increased Numbers of Lung Cancer Treatments

Columbus CyberKnife has treated more than 70 lung cancer cases this year with increased volume last quarter. The center has drawn patients from around the region seeking a noninvasive alternative to traditional lung cancer treatment.

On the heels of Lung Cancer Awareness Month in November, the center aimed to raise awareness of CyberKnife® treatment for the nation’s second-most common disease. Columbus CyberKnife, a service of Mount Carmel St. Ann’s Hospital, treats tumors with a procedure called stereotactic body radiation therapy (SBRT). The procedure delivers precisely targeted, high-dose radiation beams to the tumor site from a variety of angles without any incisions or sedation.

“While surgery is the most common treatment for lung cancer, we take steps to ensure the patient understands all treatment options available and help them to determine which one that may be through our collaborative approach,” Dr. Douglas Widman, medical director of Columbus CyberKnife said. “We work with a variety of cancer specialists to offer our patient the guidance to choose the treatment that best suits their needs and lifestyle.”

SBRT can be particularly advantageous for patients unable or unwilling to undergo surgery, whether from poor general health or a concern for potential side effects that could impact quality of life. Compared to the 40 treatments typically required with conventional radiation therapy, CyberKnife treatment is completed within five or fewer sessions.

CyberKnife’s unique ability to track tumors during treatment allows the machine to make adjustments for normal patient movements like breathing, minimizing radiation exposure to healthy tissue. Patients typically return to their normal routines immediately following treatment.

“Evolving treatment options for lung cancer have not only improved survival rates, but also quality of life for patients,” Dr. Widman said. “Patients who undergo have the benefit of returning to their normal routines following treatment and experience few to no side effects.”

Dr. Widman explained that the growing library of clinical data has verified that CyberKnife can offer effective treatment of lung tumors while carrying a low risk of side effects.

U.S. Preventive Services Task Force Recommends CT Lung Cancer Screening

The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) recently released a recommendation in favor of CT lung cancer screening for long-term smokers.

Though still pending finalization, the recommendation applies to current and heavy smokers between 55 and 79 and could be a huge step in diagnosing high-risk patients sooner.

The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force is an independent, volunteer panel of national experts in prevention and evidence-based medicine. The Task Force works to improve the health of all Americans by making evidence-based recommendations about clinical preventive services such as screenings, counseling services, and preventive medications.

Lung cancer makes up more than a quarter of total cases treated at Columbus CyberKnife. Our center offers a noninvasive treatment option for lung cancer called stereotactic body radiation therapy using CyberKnife® technology. To read more about our experience treating lung cancer, click here.

To read more about the recommendation, view the draft for public comment.

This is not intended as medical advice to replace the expertise and judgment of your health care team. It is intended to help you and your family make informed decisions, together with your doctor.

Lung Cancer Awareness Month

Lung Cancer Awareness Month is celebrated each November to raise awareness for the second most common cancer in both men and women. The American Cancer Society estimates 10,230 new cases of lung cancer will be diagnosed in Ohio this year.

Below are a few ways to support the fight against lung cancer:

  • Shine a Light on Lung Cancer Vigil: On November 14, the Lung Cancer Alliance will hold a vigil at 6 p.m. at Fairfield Medical Center in Lancaster. The vigil is meant to honor and support lung cancer patients and their families and to share the Lung Cancer Alliance’s goal to triple lung cancer survivorship by the end of the decade. For more information on the event, click here.
  • Find Support: Resources are available in communities and online to support lung cancer patients and their families. The Cancer Support Community of Central Ohio hosts a variety of support groups. To learn more about their services, click here.
  • Learn About Lung Cancer. Early detection is crucial to determining the best treatment method for a diagnosis. Consulting with a doctor and learning the signs and symptoms of lung cancer can help families be prepared if at risk for developing the disease. Read more about lung cancer in our center’s lung cancer blog series.

Columbus CyberKnife treats lung tumors with stereotactic body radiation therapy using CyberKnife® technology. Read more about the treatment here.

Spotlight On: Lung Cancer Treatment

As the most common cancer diagnosis in the world, lung cancer will be detected in nearly 220,000 people this year, according to the American Cancer Society. Lung cancer kills more people annually than breast, colon and pancreatic cancers combined.

Cigarette smoking is the most common cause of lung cancer. Other risk factors can include secondhand smoke, chronic lung disease, radon gas in the home and family history.

Common symptoms of lung cancer can include coughing, wheezing, shortness of breath and coughing up blood. To diagnose lung cancer, doctors may use biopsies, x-rays and CT scans.

While surgery or external-beam radiation therapy is considered a standard treatment for lung cancer, patients who are in poor general health or suffer from chronic pulmonary disease, like emphysema, may need to consider other options.

Our center offers a noninvasive form of treatment for lung cancer called stereotactic body radiation therapy (SBRT). This advanced procedure is provided using CyberKnife® technology. While the name may conjure images of knives and scalpels, CyberKnife treatment involves no incisions, no sedation and no overnight hospital stay. Lung tumors are treated with very precise, high-dose radiation beams while radiation exposure to healthy tissue surrounding a tumor is minimized.

Learn more about CyberKnife treatment here or request more information.

Lung Cancer Awareness Important for Prevention, Early Detection

As the second-most common cancer in both men and women, lung cancer is responsible for the majority of cancer-related deaths. The American Cancer Society estimates more than 160,000 people will lose their battle with lung cancer this year, accounting for more victims than breast, prostate, colon and pancreatic cancers combined.

In recognition of National Lung Cancer Awareness Month in November, Columbus CyberKnife encourages local residents to take preventive steps to protect themselves and their loved ones from common and lesser-known causes of lung cancer. (more…)