Patient Navigators Found to Boost Lung Cancer Screening Rates

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Patient navigation has the potential to help underserved low-income smokers complete lung cancer screening.
Patient navigation has the potential to help underserved low-income smokers complete lung cancer screening.
The following article features coverage from the 2017 American Society of Clinical Oncology Annual Meeting in Chicago, Illinois. Click here to read more of Oncology Nurse Advisor's conference coverage.                        

CHICAGO — Patient navigators in community health centers can help increase the number of current smokers who undergo lung cancer screening (LCS), investigators reported at the 2017 American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) Annual Meeting.

Sanja Percac-Lima, MD, and colleagues at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, enrolled 1200 current smokers aged 55 to 77 years receiving care at 5 community health centers. They randomly assigned 400 participants to patient navigation (intervention arm) and 800 to receive usual care (control arm). In the intervention arm, patient navigators determined LCS eligibility, provided brief smoking cessation counseling, introduced shared decision-making about LCS, scheduled appointments with primary care providers (PCPs), reminded patients about appointments and PCPs to order computed tomography (CT) scans. The primary outcome was the proportion of patients in each group who had any chest CT scan during the study period. The study arms had similar patient characteristics.

Patient navigators contacted 335 (84%) of the intervention patients; 76 refused further participation. Of participating patients, 135 (52%) were eligible for LCS, Dr Percac-Lima said. The most common reason for excluding patients was insufficient smoking history (119 patients).

In an intention-to-treat analysis, 124 intervention patients (31%) underwent chest CT compared with 138 control patients (17.3%, P <.01). This difference was mostly due to navigated patients having a significantly higher rate of LCS CTs compared with patients receiving usual care (23.5% vs.8.6%). 

“We believe that navigation may help underserved low-income smokers complete lung cancer screening and increase equity in care while decreasing lung cancer mortality,” Dr Percac-Lima told listeners.

Read more of Oncology Nurse Advisor's coverage of the 2017 American Society of Clinical Oncology Annual Meeting by visiting the conference page.

Reference

1. Percac-Lima S, Ashburner JM, Rigotti N, et al. Lung cancer screening patient navigation for current smokers in community health centers: a randomized controlled trial. Oral presentation at: 2017 American Society of Clinical Oncology Annual Meeting; June 2-6, 2017; Chicago, IL.

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