Improving Access to Lung Cancer Screening
Smoking is the leading cause of preventable death, and Maine has one of the highest smoking rates in the country — 15.3 percent of Mainers report they smoke every day vs. 12.4 percent nationally.
MaineHealth is a partner in the Maine Lung Cancer Coalition, a statewide, multi-institution, multidisciplinary initiative to improve the prevention, early detection and treatment of lung cancer in Maine, funded by the Bristol-Myers Squibb Foundation, Maine Cancer Foundation and Maine Economic Improvement Fund.
The coalition also engages in health policy advocacy, and is working with its partners to build the capacity to collect and track patient screening and lung cancer diagnosis numbers. There are currently 18 screening sites in Maine from York to Aroostook County that offer low-dose computed tomography (LDCT) or a CAT scan to look for lung cancer at very early stages, when it can be most effectively treated.
The MaineHealth Cancer Care Network offers comprehensive lung cancer screening services to test people at high risk for lung cancer. As a result of efforts across the network to invest in resources such as patient navigators and data surveillance systems, the number of people screened for lung cancer through the network increased from 180 in 2016 to 987 in 2017. This growth is also a reflection of the increasing recognition of the value of lung cancer screening for detecting new cases earlier.