The Impact of Social Determinants of Health on Lung Cancer Screening Utilization

J Am Coll Radiol. 2022 Jan;19(1 Pt B):122-130. doi: 10.1016/j.jacr.2021.08.026.


Purpose: The purpose of this study was to understand how social determinants of health might influence lung cancer screening (LCS) adherence.

Methods: All LCS low-dose CT appointments scheduled at an urban, tertiary care academic medical center in the New England region between January 1, 2015, and December 31, 2018, were included. Demographics, insurance type, information on social determinants of health, and appointment status were obtained from the electronic medical records. Multivariate logistic regression was performed to evaluate the associations between the appointment status and the explanatory variables.

Results: During the study period, 2,797 patients had 4,747 scheduled LCS appointments. Forty-one percent of patients had at least one missed appointment, and 32.7% of all scheduled appointments were missed. The retention rate of patients after the baseline examination was approximately 50%. Self-reported Black race was independently associated with 1.5 times the odds of missing appointments compared with White race (P = .012). Patients with Medicaid had 6.1 times the odds of missing appointments compared with patients with private insurance and 4.6 times the odds of missing appointments compared with patients with Medicare (P < .0001). Housing insecurity was a risk factor for failing to follow up after the baseline examination, with an odds ratio of 5.3 (P = .0013).

Conclusions: The high rate of missed LCS appointments underscores the need to improve screening compliance. The identification of specific social determinants of health that contribute to disparities in access to LCS could empower policymakers, hospital systems, and providers to use targeted interventions to promote more equitable access.

Keywords: Lung cancer screening; missed imaging opportunities; racial disparities; screening adherence; social determinants of health.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Appointments and Schedules
  • Early Detection of Cancer*
  • Humans
  • Lung Neoplasms* / diagnostic imaging
  • Medicare
  • Social Determinants of Health
  • United States