Smoking Cessation Counseling Needed With Spiral CT Screening for Lung Cancer

June 1, 2002
Oncology, ONCOLOGY Vol 16 No 6, Volume 16, Issue 6

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.

Only 19% of current smokers say theywould quit smoking if a computed tomography (CT) scan to detect lung cancer wasnegative, but 91% say they would want smoking cessation counseling. Thesefindings are part of a Fox Chase Cancer Center study that measured attitudes andbeliefs about the uses of spiral CT for early detection of lung cancer among ahigh-risk population. The study was presented at a recent meeting of theAmerican Society of Preventative Oncology held in Bethesda, Md.

The research measured outcomes that included awareness ofspiral CT scan for early lung cancer detection, participants’ interest in andlikelihood of undergoing a CT scan, and the expected effects of screeningresults on changing participants’ subsequent behavior.

"Studies on the clinical effectiveness of the use of aspiral CT scan for the early detection of lung cancer are ongoing, andbehavioral studies concerning spiral CT are necessary to help guide the designof interventions that would be needed if CT screening becomes arealization," said Robert A. Schnoll, PhD, associate member of Fox ChaseCancer Center’s population science division and principal investigator of thestudy.

Current and Former Smokers Surveyed

A group of 172 individuals at high risk of developing lungcancer—current or former smokers with no personal history of cancer—wereasked if they had ever heard of spiral CT for lung cancer screening and weregiven current information about the use of CT for lung cancer screening. Theywere then asked to complete a brief survey.

The surveys showed that 77% of the respondents were unawarethat spiral CT is a potential lung cancer screening method. After receivinginformation about the procedure, 43% of respondents expressed high interest inreceiving a CT scan, and 35% said they intended to seek a screening.

Respondents with a family history of lung cancer who reportedlung cancer-related symptoms and exhibited greater self-confidence aboutscreening had greater interest in CT screening. In addition, current smokerswith lung cancer symptoms who were aware that lung cancer forms before symptomsdevelop demonstrated a greater intent to pursue CT screening. Greater intent topursue screening was also related to self-confidence about screening andfatalistic beliefs.

Expected Effects

The study also measured the respondents’ expected effectsof receiving a spiral CT scan. "Only 19% of those we surveyed said theywould quit smoking if the scan gave them a clean bill of health, and 51% saidthey would quit if the scan was positive for lung cancer," said Dr. Schnoll."That means that more than 80% would continue smoking despite the effort tomonitor their health.

"Another revealing aspect of our study was that 90% ofour participants said they were interested in smoking cessation counseling ifoffered a scan. Thus, lung cancer screening may be a particularly effective timeto promote abstinence from tobacco use."

"Clearly, these results support the necessity ofintegrating smoking cessation counseling into screening programs for lungcancer," said Dr. Schnoll. "The overall benefit of encouraging smokingcessation extends to the prevention of other lung diseases and heartdisease."