Few smokers are getting the recommended annual low-dose CT lung cancer screen, reports Healio. 

Researchers reported that, from 2010 to 2015, the percentage of current and former smokers who received low-dose CT screening in the previous 12 months remained low and constant, from 3.3% in 2010 to 3.9% in 2015. Of the 6.8 million smokers eligible for lung cancer screenings in 2015, only 262,700 received them (3.9%).

Furthermore, there was no significant increase in screenings from 2010 to 2015 for any sociodemographic groups, nor were there significant subgroup differences in screening, except between participants with or without a history of bronchitis. Prevalence of screening was significantly lower among those never diagnosed with bronchitis (prevalence ratio = 0.27; 95% CI, 0.09-0.83).

Researchers noted the number of screening-eligible smokers has decreased from 8.4 million in 2010 to 6.8 million in 2015, which reflects progress in tobacco control in the United States.

However, Jemal and colleagues indicated that in a 2015 survey of physicians in South Carolina, 36% correctly stated that low-dose CT screening should be conducted annually in high-risk individuals, and 63% of physicians did not know that Medicare covers low-dose CT for lung cancer screening. Researchers also noted many physicians have limited access to high-volume and high-quality radiology centers, which is a recommendation set forth by public health organizations and a stipulation on Medicare reimbursement.

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