Primary care and pulmonary physicians’ knowledge and practice concerning screening for lung cancer in Lebanon, a middle-income country

Imad Bou Akl, Nathalie K. Zgheib, Maroun Matar, Deborah Mukherji, Marco Bardus, Rihab Nasr

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Screening for lung cancer with low-dose computed tomography (LDCT) was shown to reduce lung cancer incidence and overall mortality, and it has been recently included in international guidelines. Despite the rising burden of lung cancer in low and middle-income countries (LMICs) such as Lebanon, little is known about what primary care physicians or pulmonologists know and think about LDCT as a screening procedure for lung cancer, and if they recommend it. 

Objectives: Evaluate the knowledge about LDCT and implementation of international guidelines for lung cancer screening among Lebanese primary care physicians (PCPs) and pulmonary specialists. 

Methodology: PCPs and PUs based in Lebanon were surveyed concerning knowledge and practices related to lung cancer screening by self-administered paper questionnaires. 

Results: 73.8% of PCPs and 60.7% of pulmonary specialists recognized LDCT as an effective tool for lung cancer screening, with 63.6% of PCPs and 71% of pulmonary specialists having used it for screening. However, only 23.4% of PCPs and 14.5% of pulmonary specialists recognized the eligibility criteria for screening. Chest X-ray was recognized as ineffective by only 55.8% of PCPs and 40.7% of pulmonary specialists; indeed, 30.2% of PCPs and 46% of pulmonary specialists continue using it for screening. The majority have initiated a discussion about the risks and benefits of lung cancer screening. 

Conclusion: PCPs and pulmonary specialists are initiating discussions and ordering LDCT for lung cancer screening. However, a significant proportion of both specialties are still using a non-recommended screening tool (chest x-ray); only few PCPs and pulmonary specialists recognized the population at risk for which screening is recommended. Targeted provider education is needed to close the knowledge gap and promote proper implementation of guidelines for lung cancer screening.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2877-2884
Number of pages8
JournalCancer Medicine
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 20 Mar 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • cancer awareness
  • Lebanon
  • low-dose computed tomography
  • lung cancer
  • screening


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