The American College of Chest Physicians® (CHEST) and Thomas Jefferson University are launching a free online educational program titled “Shared Decision Making in Lung Cancer Screening” to assist healthcare workers with identifying eligible patients for lung cancer screening and helping patients make a well-informed decision about whether to be screened.
Targeted to health care workers, including primary care physicians, nurse practitioners, physician’s associates, respiratory care workers and care coordinators, the program covers:
· Assessment of eligibility for lung cancer screening and tobacco treatment · Education about lung cancer screening and tobacco treatment · Support for decision making about lung cancer screening
Learners who complete all three modules will be able to identify individuals who are eligible for annual lung cancer screening, educate those who are eligible about the potential benefits and harms of screening, help them make a shared decision about screening and inform those who smoke or who have stopped smoking about available tobacco treatment services.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death in the United States. Each year, about 220,000 people are diagnosed with lung cancer and 150,000 people die from it. The primary cause of lung cancer is smoking, with more than 8 out of every 10 lung cancer cases in the United States resulting from smoking.
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services covers screening for older adults 55-77 years of age who have a 30+ pack-year smoking history, currently smoke or have quit within the past 15 years and require shared decision making. Recent guidelines from the United States Preventive Services Task Force encourage lung cancer screening with annual low-dose computed tomography for asymptomatic older adults aged 50-80 years who have a 20+ pack-year smoking history and currently smoke or have quit within the past 15 years.
“Randomized trials have shown that lung cancer screenings can significantly reduce mortality rates,” says Ronald Myers, DSW, PhD, Professor and Director, Division of Population Science and Center for Health Decisions, Department of Medical Oncology, Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center, Thomas Jefferson University. “Unfortunately, few eligible individuals are provided the opportunity to make a shared decision about being screened for lung cancer and screening rates are very low. This course shows how to identify eligible patients, educate them about screening and help them make a screening decision.”
A study presented by the American Society of Clinical Oncology shows that only 2% of an eligible 7 million individuals were screened for lung cancer in 2016. By standardizing the approach to shared decision making, this course aims to increase the number of lung cancer screenings for eligible individuals.
“Shared decision making is a truly powerful tool if implemented correctly,” says Amy Morris, MD, FCCP. “By partnering together, CHEST and Thomas Jefferson University are able to increase the reach of an important program that will encourage regular screenings for those at highest risk for lung cancer and, if relevant, aid clinicians in guiding their patients along the path to quitting tobacco.”
In addition to this course, CHEST also offers tobacco cessation resources for both clinicians and patients, including the clinician-facing Tobacco Toolkit that helps healthcare workers guide their patients through quitting tobacco. The toolkit and more resources can be found on the CHEST Foundation website.