Pressure grows on insurers to cover lung cancer screenings

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In the wake of the government-funded National Cancer Institute trial last year, insurance giant WellPoint announced that it would start covering the tests for at-risk smokers and longtime former smokers over the age of 55. Other insurers have said they're waiting for more studies and new recommendations from the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force.

Lung cancer is currently in the first stage of the task force's eight-step process for updating a recommendation or to add a new recommendation based on new research. The task force concluded in 2004 that "the evidence is insufficient to recommend for or against screening asymptomatic persons for lung cancer with either low dose computerized tomography (LDCT), chest x-ray (CXR), sputum cytology, or a combination of these tests."