The following article features coverage from the 2018 Oncology Nursing Society’s Annual Conference in Washington, DC. Click here to read more of Oncology Nurse Advisor‘s conference coverage. 

WASHINGTON, DC — A lung cancer screening program (LCSP) is feasible and effective in identifying eligible patients at risk for and detecting lung cancer, according to an oral presentation at the 2018 Oncology Nursing Society (ONS) Annual Congress.

“We know that lung cancer always indicates poor outcomes because of late presentation, ineffective decision making, and suboptimal postop outcomes,” said Geline Joy Tamayo, MSN, RN, ACNS-BC. “In order for us to improve outcomes we need to have preventive and screening guidelines with minimally invasive techniques.”

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The National Lung Screening Trial previously provided evidence for the importance of conducting screenings for lung cancer. Furthermore, the study also demonstrated that low-dose helical computed tomography (LDCT) had a greater effect in reducing the chances of patients dying from lung cancer compared with radiographs.

For this initiative, study authors implemented the LCSP at 4 ambulatory outpatient clinics. Clinic staff were educated on the LCSP process, lung cancer screening eligibility, and how to calculate smoking status among patients. Orders for low-dose CT and referrals for lung cancer screening were made if necessary, and smoking cessation counseling was completed. Investigators reviewed and updated the process on a weekly basis.

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At the time of analysis, approximately 85 patients were screened for LCSP eligibility, of whom 34 completed screening. Early lung cancer was detected in 2 patients.

As recommended, majority of patients chose to have the LDCT scan and made an appointment to discuss the results on the same day.

Tamayo concluded that “advanced practice provider (APP) support would allow the physicians to see more new cancer patients and surgical candidates, while also providing the opportunity to expand to new sites with high-risk patient populations who have expressed interest.” A few challenges she noted, were that “more and better tools for accurate prediction, and safer procedures” are needed.


Tamayo GJ, Onaitis M, Robinson A, Thistlethwaite PA. Lung cancer screening: an opportunity and a challenge. Oral presentation at: ONS 43rd Annual Congress; May 17-20, 2018; Washington, DC.