Key Aspects for Implementing a Lung Cancer Screening Program

Erin Burns, PhD
Published: Tuesday, Apr 30, 2019
Michael A. Pritchett, DO,

Michael A. Pritchett, DO, MPH

For clinicians who see patients at risk of developing lung cancer, a new guide on the implementation of lung cancer screening (LCS) programs has been developed by a panel of experts from the American Lung Association and the American Thoracic Society (ATS).1 In this pragmatic guide, experts from a variety of US institutions provide a toolkit for how to design, implement, and conduct LCS programs.

Regarding lung nodule management algorithms, programs should incorporate the following steps:
  • Clinicians who have expertise regarding lung nodule management and lung cancer treatmentA nodule-characterization method and management tracking
  • A communication approach between the ordering provider and the patient
  • Data collection on the use and outcomes from surveillance and diagnostic imaging and biopsies for management
LCS programs must be integrated with a smoking cessation program, and data should be collected regarding the interventions offered to active smokers.

“The key takeaway is to know the parameters, and for every patient who meets those parameters, I want them to be sent for a LCS CT scan, and then we can take care of the rest,” Dr. Pritchett said. “We understand the primary care doctors are overwhelmed, and yes, we are asking for 1 more thing. But this 1 more thing can save somebody’s life.”
Thomson CC, McKee A, Borondy-Kitts A, et al; American Thoracic Society; American Lung Association. Lung Cancer Screening Implementation Guide Accessed October 31, 2018.

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