At A Glance
In 2013, the US Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) issued a new recommendation for annual lung cancer screening with low-dose computed tomography (LDCT) in adults aged 55 to 80 with a history of smoking. This includes adults who (1) have a 30 pack-year smoking history and (2) currently smoke or quit within the past 15 years. In 2015, the Maine Comprehensive Cancer Control Program (MCCCP) conducted a survey to find out how many health facilities offered the screening, how many patients were screened, and what barriers prevented screening.
Public Health Challenge
Cancer is the leading cause of death in Maine, and lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer-related death in the state. Although lung cancer death rates have declined in Maine since 2002, they continue to be significantly higher than the national rate. During 2008–2010, 75.2% of lung cancers in Maine were diagnosed at a late stage. LDCT (versus chest x-ray) is better able to detect early-stage cancer, when it is easier to treat, and could help reduce lung cancer death rates. However, Maine is a largely rural state and more information was needed to know if patients residing in rural areas had access to LDCT screening.
The MCCCP conducted a survey to assess the availability of LDCT lung cancer screening in Maine, regardless of eligibility. Fourteen facilities were surveyed on three items: (1) the screening recommendations used, (2) the estimated number of patients screened, and (3) the perceived barriers to LDCT lung cancer screening. Survey results created a snapshot of the current healthcare environment around screening and were used to create a baseline of Maine facilities providing LDCT lung cancer screening. MCCCP will repeat the survey each year and use the information to maintain a current list of screening facilities for doctors and patients.