Lung cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in Canada and is responsible for a quarter of all cancer-related deaths in the country. Screening for lung cancer using tools such as a CT scan can allow us to find lung cancers when they are still small and curable. However, those at highest risk of lung cancer, and therefore, the target of lung cancer screening interventions, are also the least likely to participate in lung cancer screening. This can lead to widening health inequities.
Dr. Ambreen Sayani, patient-oriented researcher at Women’s College Hospital, and her team of co-collaborators, recently published a paper in BMC outlining their study to promote equitable access to lung cancer screening.
This patient-partnered study involves multiple stakeholders coming together, including patients, healthcare providers and policy makers, to improve equity in access to lung cancer screening. The team will create an online learning module to educate healthcare providers on how life experiences shape smoking behaviour and lung cancer risk. The module will also share key skills on how to deliver care that’s timely, appropriate and safe. Once the module is complete, it will be freely available to all healthcare providers to support the fair and just delivery of lung cancer screening in Ontario and beyond.
Patient engagement in research can promote the design and delivery of healthcare services that are accessible and acceptable to patients. This is particularly important for lung cancer screening as those at highest risk of developing lung cancer are also those who are least likely to participate in lung cancer screening.
This CIHR-funded SPOR study is an important step towards enhancing the delivery of equitable primary care and consequent access to lung cancer screening for priority populations.