The National Lung Screening Trial (NLST) has renewed interest in low-dose computed tomography (LDCT) screening for lung cancer. Smokers may be less receptive toward LDCT screening, however, compared with never smokers. The views of patients with COPD, a particularly high-risk group, toward LDCT screening for lung cancer are currently unknown. We therefore evaluated attitudes of patients with COPD toward LDCT screening for lung cancer.
Interviews with Irish patients with COPD who satisfied NLST eligibility criteria were conducted in clinical settings using a questionnaire based on that of a comparable study of U.S. current/former smokers of unspecified disease status.
A total of 142 subjects had a mean age of 65.09 ± 6.07 years (46.4 % were male, mean pack years 54.5 ± 33.3, mean FEV1 59.16 ± 23 %); 97.8 % had an identifiable usual source of healthcare. Compared with data from a U.S. cohort of current/former smokers, a higher proportion of Irish COPD smokers: believed that they were at risk for lung cancer (63.6 vs. 15.7 %); believed that early detection improved chances of survival (90 vs. 51.2 ); were willing to consider LDCT screening (97.9 vs. 78.6 %); were willing to pay for a LDCT scan (68.6 vs. 36.2 %); and were willing to accept treatment recommendations arising (95.7 vs. 56.2 %; p < 0.0001 for all comparisons).
Urban Irish smokers with COPD who would be eligible for LDCT screening are almost universally in favor of being screened and treated for screening-detected lung cancers. This readily accessible high-risk population should be actively targeted in future screening programs.