Assessing Barriers and Facilitators to Lung Cancer Screening: Initial Findings from a Patient Navigation Intervention

Popul Health Manag. 2023 Jun;26(3):177-184. doi: 10.1089/pop.2023.0053. Epub 2023 May 19.


Low-dose computed tomography-based lung cancer screening represents a complex clinical undertaking that could require multiple referrals, appointments, and time-intensive procedures. These steps may pose difficulties and raise concerns among patients, particularly minority, under-, and uninsured populations. The authors implemented patient navigation to identify and address these challenges. They conducted a pragmatic randomized controlled trial of telephone-based navigation for lung cancer screening in an integrated, urban safety-net health care system. Following standardized protocols, bilingual (Spanish and English) navigators educated, motivated, and empowered patients to traverse the health system. Navigators made systematic contact with patients, recording standardized call characteristics in a study-specific database. Call type, duration, and content were recorded. Univariable and multivariable multinomial logistic regression was performed to investigate associations between call characteristics and reported barriers. Among 225 patients (mean age 63 years, 46% female, 70% racial/ethnic minority) assigned navigation, a total of 559 barriers to screening were identified during 806 telephone calls. The most common barrier categories were personal (46%), provider (30%), and practical (17%). System (6%) and psychosocial (1%) barriers were described by English-speaking patients, but not by Spanish-speaking patients. Over the course of the lung cancer screening process, provider-related barriers decreased 80% (P = 0.008). The authors conclude that patients undergoing lung cancer screening frequently report personal and health care provider-related barriers to successful participation. Barrier types may differ among patient populations and over the course of the screening process. Further understanding of these concerns may increase screening uptake and adherence. Clinical Trial Registration number: (NCT02758054).

Keywords: Lung-RADS; computed tomography; disparities; minority; underinsured; underserved.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Early Detection of Cancer / methods
  • Ethnicity
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lung Neoplasms* / diagnosis
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Minority Groups
  • Patient Navigation* / methods

Associated data