Patient Perspectives on Low-Dose Computed Tomography for Lung Cancer Screening, New Mexico, 2014.
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National guidelines call for annual lung cancer screening for high-risk smokers using low-dose computed tomography (LDCT). The objective of our study was to characterize patient knowledge and attitudes about lung cancer screening, smoking cessation, and shared decision making by patient and health care provider.We conducted semistructured qualitative interviews with patients with histories of heavy smoking who received care at a Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC Clinic) and at a comprehensive cancer center-affiliated chest clinic (Chest Clinic) in Albuquerque, New Mexico. The interviews, conducted from February through September 2014, focused on perceptions about health screening, knowledge and attitudes about LDCT screening, and preferences regarding decision aids. We used a systematic iterative analytic process to identify preliminary and emergent themes and to create a coding structure.We reached thematic saturation after 22 interviews (10 at the FQHC Clinic, 12 at the Chest Clinic). Most patients were unaware of LDCT screening for lung cancer but were receptive to the test. Some smokers said they would consider quitting smoking if their screening result were positive. Concerns regarding screening were cost, radiation exposure, and transportation issues. To support decision making, most patients said they preferred one-on-one discussions with a provider. They also valued decision support tools (print materials, videos), but raised concerns about readability and Internet access.Implementing lung cancer screening in sociodemographically diverse populations poses significant challenges. The value of tobacco cessation counseling cannot be overemphasized. Effective interventions for shared decision making to undergo lung cancer screening will need the active engagement of health care providers and will require the use of accessible decision aids designed for people with low health literacy.