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At a closer look, the Northeast saw 3.5 percent of eligible patients tested, the Midwest had a rate of 1.9 percent and the South had a rate of 1.6 percent.
"Annual low-dose CT screening ... remains inadequate," researcher Danh Pham said at a press briefing prior to the American Society of Clinical Oncology annual meeting. He noted that the analysis was "a call to arms to increase much-needed screening."
Although the researchers called their findings “disappointing,” they did note that the study only evaluated the first year after all of the evidence, funding and recommendations were in place.
In 2013, the USPSTF recommended that high-risk smokers get tested each year using low-dose computed tomography. The examination has been proven to reduce death from lung cancer by 20 percent compared with chest x-ray. And in 2015, Medicare agreed to pay for the screenings.
Lung cancer is the deadliest cancer, with an estimated 154,050 deaths projected for 2018. Pham predicts that higher screening rates could prevent up to 12,000 deaths a year.
He said lung cancer doctors, “would like to be put out of business.”
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