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J Am Coll Radiol. 2016 Dec;13(12 Pt B):1566-1570. doi: 10.1016/j.jacr.2016.09.004.

Promising Approaches From Behavioral Economics to Improve Patient Lung Cancer Screening Decisions.

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Department of Health Behavior and Policy, Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, Virginia. Electronic address:
School of Medicine, Duke University, Durham, North Carolina.
Department of Radiology and Imaging, Medical College of Georgia, Augusta University, Augusta, Georgia.


Lung cancer is a devastating disease, the deadliest form of cancer in the world and in the United States. As a consequence of CMS's determination to provide low-dose CT (LDCT) as a covered service for at-risk smokers, LDCT lung cancer screening is now a covered service for many at-risk patients that first requires counseling and shared clinical decision making, including discussions of the risks and benefits of LDCT screening. However, shared decision making fundamentally relies on the premise that with better information, patients will arrive at rational decisions that align with their preferences and values. Evidence from the field of behavioral economics offers many contrary viewpoints that take into account patient decision making biases and the role of the shared decision environment that can lead to flawed choices and that are particularly relevant to lung cancer screening and treatment. This article discusses some of the most relevant biases, and suggests incorporating such knowledge into screening and treatment guidelines and shared decision making best practices to increase the likelihood that such efforts will produce their desired objectives to improve survival and quality of life.


Behavioral economics; cancer screening; lung cancer; smoking

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