Family physicians’ role in lung cancer care

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By the LuCa National Training Network

Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer deaths in Texas — more than breast, prostate, and colorectal cancers combined. The good news is that annual lung cancer screening with low-dose computed tomography, or LCS with LDCT, allows for lung cancer to be diagnosed at earlier stages than in the past. Most importantly, up to 80% of people with screen-detected lung cancer can be cured. Despite United States Preventive Services Task Force recommendations for LCS with LDCT in high-risk individuals and CMS coverage since 2015, Texas ranks below average for LCS among high risk individuals, with only 1.7% of those eligible receiving screening with LDCT, according to the American Lung Association.

Provider discussion and referral can have a tremendous impact on screening participation. “In one study, 82% of patients reported that they would undergo LDCT lung screening if recommended by their physician. Another study found that approximately 85% of LCS-adherent patients reported ‘trust in their provider’ as a reason for undergoing screening,” according to a 2019 study in the Journal of the National Comprehensive Cancer Network.

Studies have shown that lung cancer patients receive treatments at lower rates than other cancer patients, regardless of stage of diagnosis. And despite decades of research into tobacco use treatment, many providers still lack the knowledge of best approaches to assist patients in their attempts to quit smoking.

As a family physician, your involvement in risk reduction, screening, and treatment is critical for reducing the burden of lung cancer. Training, resources, and tools can help you address the needs of your patients who are at risk for or living with lung cancer.

The LuCa National Training Network at the University of Louisville provides free lung cancer training and materials for family physicians and other healthcare professionals. LuCa’s online course, “Lung Cancer and the Primary Care Provider” is the first of its kind to educate providers on lung cancer care across the continuum, including lung cancer screening, tobacco cessation, shared decision making, treatment advances, patient follow-up, and survivorship care.

The comprehensive and innovative online course is video-based, features animated demonstrations, includes three separate lessons, and offers participants up to 2.5 Prescribed continuing medical education credits by the American Academy of Family Physicians. The course was developed with input from family physicians across the United States, as well as lung cancer screening and treatment specialists to help you:

  • Have more success with patients’ tobacco cessation in less time;
  • Follow the latest recommendations for lung cancer screening;
  • Receive appropriate reimbursement for shared decision-making discussions;
  • Know how to follow-up on screening results;
  • Be aware of treatment options to answer patients’ initial questions if diagnosed;
  • Collaborate more effectively with treatment specialists; and
  • Provide optimal care to your patients during and following cancer treatment.

Enroll in the free online course today at

LuCa’s website also provides an expansive resource library with more than 300 articles and tools for physicians and their patients; information on upcoming training opportunities, as well as recordings of recent webinars; and technical assistance for health systems, state cancer coalitions, provider organizations, and others interested in engaging physicians and other health care providers around lung cancer topics.

For more information about LuCa’s online training course, tools, or other services, visit, email, or call 1 (844) LUCA-NTN.

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