Only 19% of current smokers say they would quit smoking if a computed tomography (CT) scan to detect lung cancer was negative, but 91% say they would want smoking cessation counseling. These findings are part of a Fox Chase Cancer Center study that measured attitudes and beliefs about the uses of spiral CT for early detection of lung cancer among a high-risk population. The study was presented at a recent meeting of the American Society of Preventative Oncology held in Bethesda, Md.
The research measured outcomes that included awareness of spiral CT scan for early lung cancer detection, participants’ interest in and likelihood of undergoing a CT scan, and the expected effects of screening results on changing participants’ subsequent behavior.
"Studies on the clinical effectiveness of the use of a spiral CT scan for the early detection of lung cancer are ongoing, and behavioral studies concerning spiral CT are necessary to help guide the design of interventions that would be needed if CT screening becomes a realization," said Robert A. Schnoll, PhD, associate member of Fox Chase Cancer Center’s population science division and principal investigator of the study.
Current and Former Smokers Surveyed
A group of 172 individuals at high risk of developing lung cancercurrent or former smokers with no personal history of cancerwere asked if they had ever heard of spiral CT for lung cancer screening and were given current information about the use of CT for lung cancer screening. They were then asked to complete a brief survey.
The surveys showed that 77% of the respondents were unaware that spiral CT is a potential lung cancer screening method. After receiving information about the procedure, 43% of respondents expressed high interest in receiving a CT scan, and 35% said they intended to seek a screening.
Respondents with a family history of lung cancer who reported lung cancer-related symptoms and exhibited greater self-confidence about screening had greater interest in CT screening. In addition, current smokers with lung cancer symptoms who were aware that lung cancer forms before symptoms develop demonstrated a greater intent to pursue CT screening. Greater intent to pursue screening was also related to self-confidence about screening and fatalistic beliefs.