The average cost of early detection of lung cancer through screening high-risk patients for the disease using low-dose computed tomography (LDCT), in addition to the average cost of curative intent treatment, such as surgery, is lower than the necessary cost to treat advanced stage lung cancer patients, a disease with a high mortality rate.
There are results from the Pan-Canadian Early Detection Study, which analyzed the yearly costs relative to the necessary resources for screening and treatment of lung cancer.
The study, whose findings were published at the official journal of the International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer, the Journal of Thoracic Oncology, revealed that the average cost to conduct two annual LDCT screens in a patient, as well as the necessary follow-up or scan repeat for patients who didn’t suffer from the disease, was $453 compared to $2,248 for those with lung cancer.
The costs spent per person on diagnostic workups, curative intent surgical treatment, and 2 years of follow-up was $33,344 for patients who have been diagnosed with lung cancer. On the other hand, the researchers concluded that the costs of advanced-stage lung cancer treatment with chemotherapy, radiotherapy, or supportive care was $47,792.
This study enrolled 2,059 patients, who had a 2% or higher risk of developing lung cancer within the three years following the study, and used a Web-based lung cancer risk prediction tool.
“The number of deaths that potentially could be prevented and the number of life years gained with lung cancer screening using LDCT is greater than any new treatment modality offered over the last two decades. If expensive targeted-therapies become widespread in the treatment of advanced, inoperable lung cancer, a screening program could potentially become cost saving while at the same time improving patient outcomes,” said the authors of the study in an International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer (IASLC) press release.
“Our risk prediction tool has been found to have 11.9% greater sensitivity in identifying those who would be diagnosed with lung cancer in the 6 years of follow-up compared with the NLST criteria, thus reducing the number of people that needed to be screened to detect lung cancer and improving cost-effectiveness,” the authors added.
The study confirms the data previously demonstrated by the National Lung Cancer Screening Trial (NLST), which revealed that LDCT screening performed in patients with high-risk of developing lung cancer reduced the disease associated mortality by 20%.
Moreover, the United States Preventative Services Task Force (USPSTF) had also recently recommended that patients older than 55 years who smoke a pack of cigarettes a day for 30 years or the equivalent should be submitted to yearly examinations.