Use of PET scans in Medicare highest for lymphoma, lung cancer

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Researchers looking at the use of diagnostic imaging for cancer patients covered by Medicare between the years 1999 and 2006 found a significant increase in the use of PET scans, with two types of cancer at the top: lung cancer and non-Hodgkin's lymphoma (NHL).

Additionally, the use of CT scans increased in all these cancer types with the exception of NHLs.

Hand in hand with this increase in use of diagnostic imaging scans is costs per beneficiary with cancer, which, according to the study's authors, had a tendency to double each year.

CONCLUSIONS

Pressed to reach conclusions over the increase, the authors wrote, "It is unclear whether the rapid increase in use of advanced imaging is a result of the novelty of the technologies, better outcomes, or a shift to new revenue sources after the enactment of the Medicare Prescription Drug, Improvement, and Modernization Act."

PUBLICATIONS

This study was published in the April 28 2010 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA).

By Ross Bonander

Source: JAMA

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