Lung Cancer Archives - PulmCCM

Lung Cancer Articles

May 022015
Kids experiment with e-cigarettes (and are smoking less than ever)

A new report from the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) confirms U.S. teenagers and pre-adolescents are experimenting with e-cigarettes in dramatically greater numbers. But mentioned almost as an afterthought in the scare pieces presented as public health stories: fewer kids are smoking deadly real cigarettes than ever before. E-cigarette use by students in junior high and high school [… read more]

Mar 042015
Lung-RADS launches: New system for lung cancer screening chest CTs

The American College of Radiology has started implementing its new system for risk-stratifying the findings on low dose chest CTs performed for lung cancer screening. The ACR’s new system is called Lung-RADS™, and it emulates the ACR’s familiar Bi-RADS’s 0-4 scoring system for mammography: Lung-RADS 0: Incomplete, meaning previous chest CTs are still being located [… read more]

Feb 222015
Who needs mediastinoscopy after negative EBUS staging for lung cancer?

image: Olympus Most lung cancers spread to the lymph nodes in the chest first. Unless distant spread to other organs (metastasis) is obvious, biopsy of any suspicious intrathoracic lymph nodes is necessary to stage and prognose lung cancer. The presence or absence of cancerous lymph nodes, and their location in relation to the lung cancer, determine [… read more]

Feb 112015
Medicare will pay for lung cancer screening chest CT -- now up to age 77

Medicare will pay for annual low-dose chest CT for lung cancer screening, for former and current heavy smokers between the ages of 55 and 77. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) announced the decision last week. CMS had previously signaled they would set the upper age limit at 74, the same as in the National Lung Screening Trial [… read more]

Dec 072014

Ignoring its advisory panel, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) announced that annual low-dose CT lung cancer screening for high-risk individuals will be covered by Medicare. However, CMS applied restrictions that will limit access to screening, avoiding the chaotic marketplace free-for-all that would have resulted from an unrestricted approval. Medicare will pay for one lung cancer [… read more]

May 222014
Medicare bucks USPSTF, denies coverage for lung cancer screening

The Centers for Medcare and Medcaid Services sent lung cancer screening’s forward momentum into a tailspin last month, when Medicare’s advisory panel shocked observers by voting  against covering lung cancer screening with annual low dose chest CT as a standard benefit. The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) had already recommended lung cancer screening be [… read more]

Feb 202014
Sublobar resections as good as lobectomy for stage IA GGO lung cancer?

The new USPSTF lung cancer screening guidelines are about to produce an enormous wave of abnormal chest CTs, with suspicious pulmonary nodules in millions of current and former U.S. smokers. Many will be surgically removed, and thousands of people will be saved from premature death from lung cancer. That’s great news — mostly. Less widely [… read more]

Feb 042014
Can pulmonologists do their own on-site cytopathology during bronchoscopy?

On-site, intra-procedure cytopathologic examination of aspirated tissue during transbronchial needle aspiration (either by EBUS or “blind” approach) is probably helpful during bronchoscopy. Why wouldn’t it be? You’ve got a trained professional there to tell you when you’ve made the diagnosis and can stop taking biopsies. Diagnostic yield should go up, complications down. Randomized trials have [… read more]

Dec 152013
Overdiagnosis rate with lung cancer screening CT is 18%

Low-dose CT screening reduced death from lung cancer by about 20% in the National Lung Screening Trial, and the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force signaled it would recommend CT screening for most people with a heavy smoking history. The Affordable Care Act stipulates that USPSTF-recommended screening tests be completely free to consumers, so lung cancer screening will [… read more]

Nov 062013
Breath tests can accurately diagnose lung cancer

Diagnosing lung cancer without a biopsy may seem like science fiction, but breath testing to identify lung cancer has made steady gains in accuracy in recent years. A study abstract presented by Peter Mazzone et al at Chest 2013 in Chicago shows just how far one of the new technologies — volatile organic compound analysis [… read more]

Sep 132013
Mild weight gain after quitting smoking outweighed by cessation's benefits

Weight Gain After Quitting Smoking Usually Mild, Harmless Nicotine is an anorexigen, or appetite suppressant. This “benefit” of cigarette smoking is no secret, certainly not to teenage girls, who in surveys report smoking to stay thin. Even among women smokers over age 40, more than half said they would not quit smoking if it meant they would [… read more]

Aug 162013
How to manage lung cancer when resection is high risk

Management of Lung Cancer in High Surgical Risk Patients By Blair Westerly, MD We all hope that surgical resection is an option for our unfortunate patients diagnosed with lung cancer.  However, as a consequence of the epidemiology of stage I non-small cell lung cancer, the standard of care, lobectomy with systematic mediastinal lymph node evaluation, [… read more]

Aug 112013
USPSTF Recommends Lung Cancer Screening CT; Obamacare Pays

USPSTF Endorses Lung Cancer Screening CT; New Standard of Care Begins Lung cancer screening CT took its most important step toward widespread implementation last week, when the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) released a draft of its forthcoming recommendation that the 9 million U.S. people meeting entry criteria for the National Lung Screening Trial [… read more]

Jul 272013
How to ration lung cancer screening CTs, rationally

Restrict Lung Cancer Screening CT To Highest-Risk People? The National Lung Screening Trial showed that 3 annual low-dose chest CT scans in people with heavy smoking histories (30+ pack-years) saved lives, reducing the risk of death from lung cancer by a relative 20% compared to screening with annual chest X-rays. With 160,000 lung cancer deaths [… read more]

Jul 042013
Many people with metastatic lung cancer think radiation can cure

image: Patients With Metastatic Lung Cancer Often Believe Radiation Could Cure Among 384 patients with metastatic lung cancer who answered a survey, two in five expressed belief that radiation therapy was “very likely” or “somewhat likely” to cure them. Eighty percent thought radiation therapy would allow them to live longer, and only one-third admitted [… read more]

May 232013
New lung cancer prediction tool promises better use of screening CT

New Prediction Model Selects Best Lung Cancer Screening Candidates In the National Lung Screening Trial (NLST), screening for lung cancer with low-dose chest CT scans resulted in a 20% reduction in death from lung cancer. The consumer-serving American Lung Association recommended outright that older people with heavy smoking histories should get lung cancer screening; leading [… read more]

Apr 172013
How dangerous are ground glass nodules over time?

image: Radiology Assistant Ground-Glass Nodules: If Growing, Assume Cancer Blair Westerly, MD The more CT scans that are performed, the more ground-glass opacities (GGO’s) are seen and what to do with these abnormalities can be difficult to ascertain for clinicians. With the National Lung Cancer Screening Trial showing a mortality benefit from low dose CT [… read more]

Mar 212013
Big Tobacco win: Feds to take breather in fight for scary cigarette labeling

Feds to Big Tobacco on Cigarette Labeling Fight: “Uncle!” The feds are admitting defeat for now in their fight for graphic, negative imagery to be displayed on all cigarette packaging and advertisements. Attorney General Eric Holder announced yesterday that the Justice Department will not ask the Supreme Court to reverse their loss in a federal [… read more]

Jan 022013
PET scans often inaccurate; may deny curative surgery for lung cancer

The use of positron emission tomography — better known as PET scans — has grown dramatically over the past 15 years, thanks to their seemingly magical ability to identify foci of undetected metastatic cancer. But PET scans’ perceived high accuracy in diagnosing metastatic non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) — a published 94% sensitivity and 83% [… read more]

Dec 302012
Bad news for IP guys? Incidental mediastinal lymphadenopathy may not need routine biopsy

(image: Wikipedia) With increasing use of chest CT, incidental mediastinal lymphadenopathy seems to be frequently discovered and subsequently biopsied using EBUS. The “if it’s enlarged, stick a needle in it” mantra is challenged by a paper by Stigt et al. 83 people (age ~59) with at least one incidentally discovered mediastinal lymph node > 1 [… read more]