Medicare Approves New Tool for Prostate Cancer Recurrence Assessment

Medicare Now Covers Oncotype DX Testing Oncotype DX is a genomic test that can help predict near- and long-term outcomes in prostate cancer. About half of all men diagnosed with prostate cancer could be treated with active surveillance for a period of time. The Oncotype DX test is a genomic test that can help in determining the aggressiveness of a prostate cancer case and it’s likelihood of recurrence after treatment. “More than 220,000 men are diagnosed with prostate cancer each year in the United States alone. The Medicare coverage decision extends reimbursement for Oncotype DX testing to prostate cancer patients defined as low- and very low-risk by the National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN), who are eligible based on clinical and pathological factors such as prostate-specific antigen (PSA) and Gleason score.” The effective date for Medicare coverage will be after the 45-day notice period according to Palmetto GBA’s process. This should be sometime near the end of September 2015. Prostate Cancer’s Enigma Science is learning more about prostate cancer all of the time, but there still are many unknowns. With more than 20 different varieties of prostate cancer, the biggest challenge is determining which are the aggressive types that claim the lives of […] read more

Follow Up Ultra Sounds Can Help in Breast Cancer Detection

Connecticut was the first state to enact groundbreaking legislation mandating that patients undergoing mammography be educated about their breast density with the option to have a follow-up ultrasound. Jean M. Weigert, head of breast imaging for the Hospital of Central Connecticut, performed a chart review to see how well this process worked in detecting cancers in women with dense breasts during the first four years of its implementation. Jean provided a report to the 2014 San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium regarding her study. She found that this supplemental ultrasound screening of dense breasts did in fact detect a noteworthy number of breast cancers undiscovered by a mammogram. Since the initial legislation in 2009 breast density reporting laws have become in effect in 21 states with several other bills being introduced this year. The “Breast Density and Mammography Reporting Act of 2015” is still pending in the House of Representatives and the Senate. You can read more details of the study in this recent article. The American Cancer Society recommends that women have an annual mammogram beginning at age 40, and a Clinical Breast Exam (CBE) every three years for women in their 20′s and 30′s, and annual beginning at 40. […] read more