Smoking is bad for you. We all know that. But it is hard to quit. Even though we know that quitting smoking provides such great health benefits, it is still one of the hardest things anyone will ever try to do.
But if you are a smoker and you have medicare you might find it a bit easier since Medicare has just recently announced that they will start to cover one annual lung cancer screening for those who smoke.
Chief medical officer for the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services, Dr. Patrick Conway, says, “This is the first time that Medicare has covered lung cancer screening. This is an important new Medicare preventive benefit since lung cancer is the third most common cancer and the leading cause of cancer deaths in the United States.”
Indeed, this is an incredible way for patients to track their health, and it could, in fact, save “tens of thousands of lives” every year, as described by the Lung Cancer Alliance CEO, Laurie Fenton Ambrose. She attest, “We think it’s a transformative moment for our community.”
Furthermore, Dr. Douglas Wood, a former president of the Society of Thoracic Surgeons, discusses, “This is a great day for those at high risk for lung cancer and their families. Now, we can save tens of thousands of people each year from this terrible disease that now kills more women in wealthy countries than breast cancer.”
In response to the ruling, Lung Cancer Alliance president and CEO Laurie Fenton Ambrose shares, “Medicare got this right. Screening coverage will help save thousands of seniors each year from the nation’s leading cancer killer. Screening programs can also help lower smoking rates. The process may even lead to better understanding of addiction as well as lung cancer in those who have never smoked.”
Lung cancer is the most difficult type of cancer to detect. It is so difficult in fact that it is rarely ever found until it is far too late. And what’s worse, it is such an intricate condition that is rarely treatable, if ever.