Francisco Cartujano, M.D.

Assistant Professor


Project Title

Advancing Lung Cancer Screening Among Latinos One Text at a Time

Named Award

Richard C. Devereaux Outstanding Young Investigator Award


Assistant Professor


Wilmot Cancer Institute, University of Rochester Medical Center, Rochester, N.Y.

My “Why”

Cancer is the leading cause of death among Latinos—the largest minority group in the U.S.—accounting for 20% of deaths. Latinos experience cancer disparities such as limited access to cancer prevention and control resources, with specific barriers including language, literacy and a lack of cultural sensitivity.

My Mission

As a Latino immigrant and a medical doctor, I have an unwavering commitment to addressing cancer disparities among Latinos. I believe all people should have a fair and just opportunity to live a longer, healthier life free from cancer—regardless of how much money they make, the color of their skin, their sexual orientation, gender identity, disability status or where they live.

Research Overview

Lung cancer remains the leading cause of cancer-related death among Latinos. Although lung cancer screening has been shown to reduce deaths, uptake remains low. The Latino community faces specific barriers to accessing lung cancer screening, including language, cost concerns, mistrust of the health care system and a lack of knowledge regarding when to have lung cancer screenings. This creates an urgent need to develop programs that address these issues.  In response, we aim to develop and pilot test ¡A todo pulmón! (At the top of one’s lungs!), a text messaging program to increase the uptake of lung cancer screening among Latinos.

This project will be divided in two phases:

  • Development. We will interview Latino adults ages 50 to 80 who have a 20 pack-year smoking history and currently smoke or have quit within the past 15 years. The interviews will allow us to understand specific needs for accessing lung cancer screening   to help develop and refine text messages that address the specific needs of Latinos. 
  • Pilot testing. We will conduct a study with 40 Latino adults.  All participants will receive the ¡A todo pulmón! text messages three months after enrollment. Participants will complete a follow-up assessment so we can assess how many participants completed lung cancer screening. We will also evaluate recruitment and follow-up rates, and satisfaction with the program.

This work is guided by community advisory boards that represent the Latino population and ensure that their perspectives are incorporated on all aspects of the study.

Why Funding Matters

Funding from the Prevent Cancer Foundation will help us develop and pilot test a culturally appropriate text messaging intervention to improve lung cancer screening among Latinos.

My Hope

This project will assess the feasibility, acceptability and preliminary impact of text messaging intervention to improve lung cancer screening rates among Latinos.