Lung cancer detection in patients with airflow obstruction identified in a primary care outpatient practice

Chest. 2005 Apr;127(4):1140-5. doi: 10.1378/chest.127.4.1140.


Introduction: This prospective study describes a community-based lung cancer identification project focusing on high-risk patients who receive general care in a primary care outpatient practice. Within 1 calendar year, a simple questionnaire was completed in 1,296 patients > 50 years old to identify 430 patients at high risk of lung cancer (smoking, family history of aerodigestive tract cancer, or occupational exposures). Spirometric abnormalities were found in 126 of these patients.

Methods: Chest posteroanterior radiographs, thoracic CT scans, and sputum cytology were offered to subjects with airflow obstruction (n = 126). Eighty-eight patients underwent all tests. Thirty-eight patients refused or could not consent in a timely fashion.

Results: Six cancers were found in the screened group, and all were treated. Two more cancers were found in the nonscreened patients with airflow obstruction. Both were treated by surgical resection or radiation therapy. Costs per cancer found were $11,925 per patient.

Conclusions: Case finding in high-risk patients in a primary care population can be accomplished at a relatively low cost.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Decision Trees
  • Family Practice
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lung Diseases, Obstructive / etiology*
  • Lung Neoplasms / complications
  • Lung Neoplasms / diagnosis*
  • Lung Neoplasms / epidemiology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Risk Factors