The impact of income and education on lung cancer screening utilization, eligibility, and outcomes: a narrative review of socioeconomic disparities in lung cancer screening

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J Thorac Dis. 2021 Jun;13(6):3745-3757. doi: 10.21037/jtd-20-3281.


Non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) is the leading cause of cancer deaths in the US and worldwide. In particular, vulnerable populations such as those of low socioeconomic status (SES) are at the highest risk for and suffer the highest mortality from NSCLC. Although lung cancer screening (LCS) has been demonstrated to be a powerful tool to lower NSCLC mortality, it is underutilized by eligible smokers, and disparities in screening are likely to contribute to inequities in NSCLC outcomes. It is imperative that we collect and analyze LCS data focused on individuals of low socioeconomic position to identify and address barriers to LCS utilization and help close the gaps in NSCLC mortality along socioeconomic lines. Toward this end, this review aims to examine published studies that have evaluated the impact of income and education on LCS utilization, eligibility, and outcomes. We searched the PubMed, Ovid MEDLINE, and CINAHL Plus databases for all studies published from January 1, 2010, to October 21, 2020, that discussed socioeconomic-based LCS outcomes. The review reveals that income and education have impact on LCS utilization, eligibility, false positive rates and smoking cessation attempts; however, there is a lack of studies evaluating the impact of SES on LCS follow-up, stage at diagnosis, and treatment. We recommend the intentional inclusion of lower SES participants in LCS studies in order to clarify appropriate eligibility criteria, risk-based metrics and outcomes in this high-risk group. We also anticipate that low SES smokers and their providers will require increased support and education regarding smoking cessation and shared decision-making efforts.

PMID:34277066 | PMC:PMC8264678 | DOI:10.21037/jtd-20-3281