Keck Medicine of USC applauds the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS) decision to provide coverage of annual low-dose computed tomography (CT) screening for patients ages 55 to 77 years with at least a 30 pack-year smoking history.

“Today signals a new day where lung cancer transitions from the No. 1 cancer killer to a treatable, curable disease. With thousands of preventable deaths every year due to lung cancer, this important decision has the potential to make a significant difference for our patients,” said Christopher Lee, MD, assistant professor of radiology, Keck School of Medicine of USC. “Lung cancer is one of the most difficult diseases to detect early, and this gives patients a fighting chance. Here at Keck Medicine of USC, we commit to those at risk to provide high-quality screening and follow-up care.”

The Medicare ruling specifies that patients must also be asymptomatic, be a current smoker or one who has quit smoking within the last 15 years, and the scan must be ordered by a physician. The Keck Medicine of USC Multidisciplinary Lung Cancer program can assist with coordinating a physician consultation. To schedule a low-dose CT scan, call (323) 680-3534 or email

This ruling finalizes a draft decision issued in November 2014 that brings the benefit of lung cancer screening to approximately 5 million American seniors, the most at-risk group for the disease. This represents close to half of the entire at-risk public who would qualify for screening.

— Leslie Ridgeway