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Mobile CT program in NYC shows promise in boosting lung cancer screening in urban settings

by Gus Iversen, Editor in Chief | April 29, 2024
CT Mobile Imaging X-Ray
The Brooklyn Bridge
A pilot study in New York has demonstrated the potential effectiveness of mobile lung cancer screening units in increasing screening rates among high-risk populations. Conducted between December 2019 and January 2020, the study parked a mobile CT unit in Downtown Brooklyn, aiming to make low-dose CT (LDCT) screenings more accessible to individuals who might not otherwise seek them out.

The mobile unit, equipped with a GE Lightspeed VCT 16-slice LDCT scanner, was strategically located in a high-traffic area near public transportation and housing projects. The choice was intended to capture a diverse demographic, particularly targeting underserved communities with higher risks of lung cancer due to smoking histories.

The study, which was published in the JACR, applied eligibility criteria aligned with the 2021 U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) guidelines, which include adults aged 50 to 80 years with a smoking history of 20 pack-years or more.
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Over the course of the pilot, 216 individuals were screened, with the majority being baseline screenings for new participants. The results were promising: 88.4% of the scans returned negative, while 11.6% showed positive results, necessitating further investigation and care. Notably, two cases of early-stage lung cancer were detected and promptly treated, highlighting the potential lifesaving impact of more accessible screening options.

Despite these successes, the study also highlighted significant disparities in screening uptake. Although the mobile unit was able to engage a diverse population, certain groups, particularly Asian and Hispanic communities, were underrepresented, underscoring the need for targeted outreach and education efforts that consider cultural and linguistic barriers.

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