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Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 2012 Jul;21(7):1049-59. doi: 10.1158/1055-9965.EPI-12-0343. Epub 2012 May 9.

Use of lung cancer screening tests in the United States: results from the 2010 National Health Interview Survey.

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Health Services and Economics Branch/Applied Research Program, Division of Cancer Control and Population Sciences, National Cancer Institute, Bethesda, MD 20892, USA.



Before evidence of efficacy, lung cancer screening was being ordered by many physicians. The National Lung Screening Trial (NLST), which showed a 20% reduction in lung cancer mortality among those randomized to receive low-dose computed tomography (LDCT), will likely lead to increased screening use.


We estimated the prevalence of chest X-ray and CT use in the United States using data from the 2010 National Health Interview Survey (NHIS). Subjects included 15,537 NHIS respondents aged ≥40 years without prior diagnosis of lung cancer. Estimates of the size of the U. S. population by age and smoking status were calculated. Multivariate logistic regression examined predictors of test use adjusting for potential confounders.


Twenty-three percent of adults reported chest X-ray in the previous year and 2.5% reported chest X-ray specifically to check for lung cancer; corresponding numbers for chest CT were 7.5% and 1.3%. Older age, black race, male gender, smoking, respiratory disease, personal history of cancer, and having health insurance were associated with test use. Approximately, 8.7 million adults in the United States would be eligible for LDCT screening according to NLST eligibility criteria.


Monitoring of trends in the use of lung screening tests will be vital to assess the impact of NLST and possible changes in lung cancer screening recommendations and insurance coverage in the future. Education of patients by their physicians, and of the general public, may help ensure that screening is used appropriately, in those most likely to benefit.

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