December 19, 2023

Kilmer Introduces Bipartisan Bill to Improve Access to Critical Lung Cancer Screenings

Nearly 24,000 Lives Could Be Saved Every Year if All Recommended Americans Receive Lung Cancer Screenings

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Representatives Derek Kilmer (WA-06), Vern Buchanan (FL-16), Larry Bucshon (IN-17), and Michelle Steel (CA-45) announced the introduction of the Lung Cancer Screening and Prevention Act, legislation to help ensure timely access to advanced screenings for lung cancer.

Lung cancer is the second most common type of cancer and the leading cause of cancer-related death in the U.S., accounting for nearly one out of every five cancer deaths. Tragically, more than 80% of people with lung cancer die within five years of diagnosis, and more than half within the first year.

“As a Co-Chair of the House Cancer Caucus, I am proud to co-lead the Lung Cancer Screening and Prevention Act, a crucial step in our fight against lung cancer,” said Rep. Kilmer. “This bill not only enhances screening accessibility for high-risk groups but also represents our commitment to innovative health care solutions. Early detection is key, and this bipartisan legislation ensures that more Americans have access to life-saving screenings. Together, we’re making strides towards a healthier future for all Americans.”

“The federal government should make it easier for seniors to access crucial life-saving lung cancer screenings and not unreasonably hinder these tests from becoming available for use,” said Rep. Buchanan. “Unfortunately, bureaucratic red tape has too often stifled innovation, unreasonably delaying access to advanced testing.”

“It is more important than ever that Medicare invest in cancer prevention, signaling affirmation that it cares about the well-being of patients,” said Rep. Bucshon. “By championing preventive measures, the Lung Cancer Screening and Improvement Act would help diagnose lung cancer earlier and pave the way for Medicare coverage of new forms of detection technology. I’m honored to help lead this legislation and remain committed to finding common-sense solutions to support both cancer treatment and cancer prevention.”

“I am proud to join Rep. Buchanan in introducing this commonsense legislation,” said Rep. Steel. “It is critical that seniors are able to identify lung cancer as quickly as possible and as often as necessary. Government bureaucracy should never stand in the way of saving lives and I’m proud to co-lead a bipartisan bill that will improve access to cancer screening.”

The Lung Cancer Screening and Prevention Act would allow the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid to cover new FDA-approved lung cancer screening tests more quickly for Medicare beneficiaries. Currently, it may take as long as 3-5 years or more before CMS can cover a new test. This act aims to increase lung cancer screenings among the recommended group (individuals aged 50-80 with a 20-pack-year smoking history, who are either current smokers or quit in the last 15 years). Presently, only 5% of this group undergoes screening. By streamlining the coverage process, the Act could facilitate the availability of new tests, aiding in early lung cancer detection.

The Lung Cancer Screening and Prevention Act is endorsed by the Alliance of Dedicated Cancer Centers, American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN), DELFI Diagnostics, LUNGevity Foundation, Moffit Cancer Center, Prevent Cancer Foundation, and Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center

“Lung cancer claims more lives than any other form of cancer. In fact, it claims more lives annually than breast, colorectal, and prostate cancers combined,” said Dr. Jhanelle Gray, Chair of the Department of Thoracic Oncology, Moffitt Cancer Center. “But we can change this by improving access to early detection and preventative care. Once the evidence is ready for review, the CMS National Coverage Determination process currently in place is sufficient to ensure that the test is ready for patients to benefit. The Lung Screening and Prevention Act would help ensure that new screening and early detection approaches can become widely accessible without undue delay once they are proven effective.”

According to a recent study by The American Lung Association, lung cancer screening adds 80,000 years of life for people in the U.S. and saves the U.S. economy $40 million. If everyone eligible to get screened did so, it would add 500,000 years of life and save $500 million.

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