Smokers beware! Another attempt at saving your lives may be on its way! This time, however, it doesn’t come in the form screaming “You’ll get cancer!!!” from every box of cigarettes. This time it might come in the form of asking “Are we there yet?”
A recent issue of Health Affairs covered a study done by a group of actuaries, calculating whether it was cost effective for insurance companies to screen heavy smokers for cancer on a regular basis. As it turns out, regular screenings in the form of annual low-dose CT Scans will only cost insurance companies $1 a month per patient, but are expected to be as effective in detecting early signs of cancer as screening mammograms and colonoscopies (though I think a CT Scan beats a colonoscopy any day as far as patient comfort is concerned).
Granted this is just research and it was only targeted toward the group with the most risk factors, mainly smokers or former smokers between the ages of 50 and 64 with a minimum of 30 pack-years of smoking. But it seems like the kind of thing that insurance companies might pay attention to. Being a recovering smoker myself, I’m hoping they do.
Patient Relations Coordinator