Practice, clinician, and patient factors associated with the adoption of lung cancer screening

J Med Screen. 2021 Jun;28(2):158-162. doi: 10.1177/0969141320937326. Epub 2020 Jun 30.


Objectives: Lung cancer remains the leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the United States. In 2013, the US Preventive Services Task Force recommended annual screening for lung cancer with low-dose computed tomography in adults meeting certain criteria. This study seeks to assess lung cancer screening uptake in three health systems.

Setting: This study was part of a randomized controlled trial to engage underserved populations in preventive care and includes 45 primary care practices in eight states.

Methods: Practice and clinician characteristics were manually collected. Lung cancer was measured from electronic health record data. A generalized linear mixed model was used to assess characteristics associated with screening.

Results: Patient records between 2012 and 2016 were examined. Lung cancer screening uptake overall increased only slightly after the guideline change (2.8-5.6%, p < 0.01). One health system did not show an increase in uptake (0.2-0.1%, p = 0.32), another had a clinically insignificant increase (1.5-2.9%, p < 0.01), and the third nearly doubled its higher baseline screening rate (10.4-19.1%, p < 0.01). Within the third health system, patients more likely to be screened were older, male, had more comorbid conditions, visited the office more frequently, were seen in practices closer to the screening clinic, or were uninsured or covered by Medicare or Medicaid.

Conclusions: Certain patients appeared more likely to be screened. The only health system with increased lung cancer screening explicitly promoted screening rather than relying on clinicians to implement the new guideline. Systems approaches may help increase the low uptake of lung cancer screening.

Keywords: Lung cancer; cancer screening; guideline adherence; healthcare delivery; preventive health services.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Early Detection of Cancer*
  • Humans
  • Lung Neoplasms* / diagnosis
  • Lung Neoplasms* / epidemiology
  • Male
  • Mass Screening
  • Medicare
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed
  • United States