Aim: To evaluate the whether screening for cerebral metastases in neurologically intact patients with potentially resectable non-small cell lung cancer patients is both worthwhile and cost-effective.
Methods: We prospectively performed computed tomography (CT) of the head in 105 consecutive patients with potentially resectable lung cancer over an 18-month period. None of these patients had neurological symptoms or signs.
Results: Five patients (4.8%) with cerebral metastases were identified using CT. At our institution the financial saving of avoiding five thoracotomies was pound sterling 45,000, whilst the cost of performing 105 head CTs was pound sterling 16,000. This represented a substantial saving for the healthcare provider and preserved the quality of life in five patients.
Conclusions: We conclude that screening for cerebral metastases in neurologically intact patients with potentially resectable non small cell lung cancer patients is both worthwhile and cost effective.