Why veterans can’t get this life-saving lung cancer screening

I have been reporting about a new and accurate lung cancer screening test that uses low-dose computed tomography (LDCT) for a few years now. It is like a CAT scan. And chest physicians have come out in favor of using it to help prevent lung cancer deaths. But bureaucrats at the National Institutes of Health — and now at the Veterans Health Administration (VHA) — have come out against it.

I believe the bureaucrats’ misguided and pathetic arguments against using the scan, which could help increase lung cancer survival to almost 90 percent, stem from their politically correct bias against lung cancer victims.

Thirty years ago, I personally witnessed a new crop of “behavioral science” bureaucrats at the National Cancer Institute (NCI) make a political decision to shift almost all research funding on lung cancer into smoking cessation and prevention.

Although only one in 10 smokers get lung cancer, they decided to relentlessly bombard the entire population with “behavior” control. Meanwhile, they virtually ignored all the other science on lung cancer — such as biology, real genetic risk factors, and potential new screenings and treatments.

Today, as a result of the government’s lung cancer “program,” two-thirds of lung cancer victims are never smokers or former smokers. And the government has nothing to offer them, because they already quit smoking…or never started in the first place!

The new LDCT screening catches lung cancer early while it’s still treatable. Early detection of lung cancer, unlike other common cancers, can increase the five-year survival rate to nearly 90 percent. Not bad for a cancer that the NCI wrote off for decades as “incurable.”

Now enters the Veterans Health Administration (VHA). In January 2017, it published the “Lung Cancer Screening Demonstration Project” questioning the merits of lung cancer screening for veterans.

Nobody would consider the VHA a paragon of modern healthcare. And I thought about just ignoring the report on their “project.” But since the mainstream continues to question lung cancer screening, I needed to look in further detail.

According to project author Linda S. Kinsinger, M.D., M.P.H., the VHA is concerned there are logistical challenges, such as “developing new educational materials, ensuring collaboration and co-ordination between various clinical services and between clinical services and patients.”

Kinsinger should have said “among” instead of “between.” But most government employees are challenged by English composition, as well as by just doing their jobs. And the factors they list as “challenges” are obviously a challenge to the VHA. But everywhere else, they’re just part of the job of providing decent, standard healthcare.

Incompetence as expected from VHA

Overall, the VHA’s assessment doesn’t surprise me much. We already knew they don’t provide decent healthcare management for our veterans with the billions of dollars they already receive. So how could they manage and implement something new?

When my father worked with the government developing new navigational systems for aviation and the U.S. Apollo Moon Landing, sometimes a problem would arise that could not be explained by the equipment. It ended up being what he called “cockpit trouble” — that is, the new equipment was fine, but the personnel were having a hard time learning to use it.

Likewise, it looks like the VHA is trying to blame their own incompetence on the new equipment, instead of recognizing more “cockpit trouble” for government employees who can’t do the job. The VHA concludes it would be “difficult” to implement lung cancer screening — in a world where everything is “difficult” for the VHA.

The VHA’s other, real concern was that LDCT can sometimes detect findings that the doctor and patient don’t need to worry about (false positives). Indeed, from the beginning, government health bureaucrats at NIH criticized the screening for having false positives.

But false positives occur with every other kind of cancer screening that the government relentlessly promotes. In fact, their recommended screenings ended up creating an epidemic of over-diagnosis and over-treatment, as I have been reporting.

Plus, the problem of over-diagnosis didn’t seem to bother the mainstream academic-government medical complex when it came to screening breast cancer in women (about 50 percent over-diagnosis), prostate cancer in men (more than about 75 percent over-diagnosis), or all the hidden dangers of colon screenings. (For more information on which cancer screenings are worthwhile — and which aren’t — as well as complete details on science-backed ways to prevent and even reverse cancer, see my new Authentic Anti-Cancer online learning protocol. You can learn more about it or enroll today by clicking here.)

About 50 percent of patients may experience over-diagnosis with the new lung cancer screening. The VHA says that’s too high so they don’t want to offer it to veterans. Try making that same argument about mammography — which suffers from the same rate of over-diagnosis — and see what transpires.

While the government continues to dither on the issue, doctors in private practice already began offering the screening with great success. For example, the Lahey Clinic in the Boston area (which has excellent healthcare) now offers LDCT screenings for lung cancer, <a href=”https://drmicozzi.com/lung-cancer-screening-increases-survival-to-nearly-90-percent”>as I reported last year.</a>

The Lahey Clinic has already screened thousands of patients on their private doctors’ recommendations. Members of my family, exposed to constant smoking while working overseas, have already done it with good success and peace of mind.

VHA is the outlier when it comes to LDCT screening

LDCT screening seems to be gaining momentum everywhere but within the VHA. The National Lung Cancer Screening Trial prompted the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force in 2013 to recommend that smokers and former smokers receive it.

Then, in 2015, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services even agreed to cover it for smokers ages 55 to 77 years.

So — the VHA is the outlier. But it says their study wasn’t really a “research” study and wasn’t designed to replicate the National Lung Cancer Screening Trial.

Behind the headlines, it looks to me like the same old three problems:

  1. More government and VHA laziness and incompetence.
  2. More bias and discrimination against lung cancer victims.
  3. More bad news for our veterans and their health care.

It appears this whole “demonstration” was a “false flag” designed to continue to deprive our veterans of healthcare they need and have earned, and to keep putting government employees ahead of them — who still don’t want to learn how to do a better job of taking care of their patients.



“Lung Cancer Screening — Benefits Few, May Harm Many,” Medscape (www.medscape.com) 1/30/2017