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Lung Cancer. 2002 Sep;37(3):257-65.

Characteristics of female smokers attending a lung cancer screening program: a pilot study with implications for program development.

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  • 1Psychosocial and Behavioral Medicine Program, Fox Chase Cancer Center, 510 Township Line Road, Cheltenham, PA 19012, USA.


Anticipating the development of lung cancer early detection programs, we examined the: (1) feasibility of a lung cancer early detection program; (2) characteristics of enrollees (e.g. motivation to quit smoking); (3) correlates of enrollee motivation to quit smoking; and (4) rates of smoking cessation following screening. Brief surveys were completed before and after screening, which involved sputum cytology, chest X-ray, bronchoscopy, spiral CT, and a meeting with an oncologist to discuss smoking cessation. Of the 168 eligible women who were heavy smokers recruited via newspaper and cancer center advertisements, 55 agreed to undergo screening. Enrollees showed low-to-moderate levels of quit motivation and high levels of nicotine addiction; enrollees were interested in a range of smoking cessation treatments; 20% of enrollees exhibited clinical-levels of emotional distress; 64% of enrollees reported low levels of self-efficacy (i.e. self-confidence) to quit; 24% of enrollees reported low levels of quitting pros and 25% reported high levels of quitting cons; 31% of enrollees showed high levels of fatalistic beliefs about cancer; and all enrollees recognized their elevated lung cancer risk. Greater motivation to quit smoking was related to: greater age, lower nicotine addiction, fewer health symptoms, and higher quitting self-efficacy and quitting pros. Finally, 16% of enrollees quit smoking after screening. Overall, many women eligible for screening refused to undergo comprehensive screening that included bronchoscopy and spiral CT. Screening may represent an opportunity for quitting smoking, although more intensive smoking cessation interventions that target nicotine addiction and self-efficacy may be needed to maximize the health benefits of an early detection program.

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