(HealthDay News) — Many Veterans Health Administration (VHA) patients are eligible for lung cancer screening (LCS) with low-dose computed tomography (CT), and the use of LCS is increasing slowly among eligible patients, according to two studies published online Jan. 30 in JAMA Internal Medicine.
Linda S. Kinsinger, M.D., M.P.H., from the Veterans Health Administration National Center for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention in Durham, N.C., and colleagues conducted a clinical demonstration project at eight academic VHA hospitals among 93,033 primary care patients. A total of 2,106 patients underwent LCS. The researchers observed a wide variation in processes and patient experience among the sites. Overall, 59.7 percent of patients had nodules. Of these, 56.2 percent required tracking, 2.0 required further evaluation, and 1.5 percent had lung cancer.
Jinhai Huo, Ph.D., M.D., from the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, and colleagues used data from the 2010 and 2015 National Health Interview Survey Cancer Control Module to compare CT use for LCS. The researchers found that 2.1 and 1.3 percent of individuals received CT scans for LCS in 2015 and 2010, respectively (P < 0.001). The use of chest radiography for LCS did not differ significantly between 2015 versus 2010 (2.7 and 2.5 percent, respectively; P = 0.22).
“We found a significant but small increase in the use of CT among individuals who met the eligibility criteria of LCS,” Huo and colleagues write. “This pattern of intended use of CT scans exhibits a slow uptake and underuse of a screening technology with established effectiveness.”
Several authors from the Kinsinger study disclosed financial ties to the biopharmaceutical industry.