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Member Research & Reports

Member Research & Reports

Michigan Researcher Develops Web Tool That Helps Patients, Providers Decide if Lung Cancer Screening is Warranted

A 65-year-old male smoker with a history of two packs a day for 45 years with no personal or family history of cancer wonders: Should I be screened for lung cancer?

[Photo: Dr. Rafael Meza]

A new web-based app developed at the University of Michigan School of Public Health, and endorsed by the American College of Radiology, can provide answers.

The free screening tool, which also considers this patient’s weight of 220 lbs. and height of 5’11”, as well as other information, calculates his chance for developing lung cancer over the next six years and concludes he is eligible for a CT scan to screen for the disease according to criteria established by the U.S. Preventative Services Task Force.

The tool provides the kind of information individuals need to have good discussions with their doctors about whether CT screening is a next step.

In an article in the current issue of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, researchers detail results of a small study that showed is effective at improving patient knowledge about lung cancer and screening. It also helped patients decide if CT screening was the right choice for their situations.

“Shared-decision making is significant because we want patients to be active participants in their health,” said Dr. Rafael Meza, assistant professor of epidemiology and lead developer of the tool. “Of course, knowing the risk is only one part of the story. The individual and his or her physician will still need to decide whether or not to go through with it, taking into account personal values and preferences. This is a personal decision.”

The study involved 60 participants who were asked questions before and after using the web tool. They were current or former smokers who had no history of lung cancer and had not undergone any chest CT in the past year. Eighteen percent were found to be eligible for CT screening for lung cancer.

For more information on the study, click here.