Lung cancer is a leading cause of death in the United States, accounting for more than 150,000 deaths each year. Lung cancer screening programs have been shown to reduce mortality from lung cancer, and are therefore an important tool in early diagnosis and treatment of the disease. The current gold standard for lung cancer screening is the Lung Computed Tomography Screening Reporting & Data System (Lung-RADS). The Lung-RADS was developed as a set of guidelines to help clinicians and researchers improve consistency when interpreting CT scans for lung cancer screening.
A recent study published in JAMA Network Open investigated the factors associated with adherence to recommended screening follow-up using data from a single-center LCS program. The study found that a patient’s Lung-RADS score was the factor most strongly associated with adherence to recommended screening follow-up. This suggests that patients with higher Lung-RADS scores may be more likely to adhere to recommended screening follow-up than those with lower scores.
The authors of the study hypothesize that factors such as educational level, access to care, and personal beliefs or preferences may contribute to nonadherence to Lung-RADS. They go further to suggest that additional research is needed to identify and address factors which lead to nonadherence in order to maximize the effectiveness of LCS programs.
For clinicians, understanding the factors associated with nonadherence to LCS screening can help when providing patient care. It is also important to recognize that LCS results should be closely monitored and that patients should be encouraged to adhere to recommendations for follow-up screenings. Studies such as this one are a step towards understanding the factors associated with nonadherence to LCS, allowing us to develop strategies that will improve adherence and ultimately reduce mortality from lung cancer.