Beliefs and attitudes about lung cancer screening among smokers

Lung Cancer. 2012 Sep;77(3):526-31. doi: 10.1016/j.lungcan.2012.05.095. Epub 2012 Jun 6.


The National Lung Screening Trial (NLST) recently reported that annual computed tomography (CT) screening is associated with decreased lung cancer mortality in high-risk smokers. Beliefs about lung cancer and screening, particularly across race and ethnicity, and their influence on CT screening utilization are largely unexamined. Our study recruited asymptomatic, high-risk smokers, 55-74 years of age from primary care clinics in an academic urban hospital. Guided by the self-regulation theory, we evaluated cognitive and affective beliefs about lung cancer. Intention to screen for lung cancer with a CT scan was assessed by self-report. We used univariate and logistic regression analyses to compare beliefs about screening and intention to screen among minority (Blacks and Hispanics) and non-minority participants. Overall, we enrolled 108 participants, of which 40% were Black and 34% were Hispanic; the mean age was 62.3 years, and median pack-years of smoking was 26. We found that intention to screen was similar among minorities and non-minorities (p=0.19); however, Hispanics were less likely to report intention to screen if they had to pay for the test (p=0.02). Fatalistic beliefs, fear of radiation exposure, and anxiety related to CT scans were significantly associated with decreased intention to screen (p<0.05). Several differences were observed in minority versus non-minority participants' beliefs toward lung cancer and screening. In conclusion, we found that concerns about cost, which were particularly prominent among Hispanics, as well as fatalism and radiation exposure fears may constitute barriers to lung cancer screening. Lung cancer screening programs should address these factors to ensure broad participation, particularly among minorities.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Anxiety
  • Black or African American
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Early Detection of Cancer / economics
  • Early Detection of Cancer / psychology*
  • Fear
  • Female
  • Health Care Costs
  • Hispanic or Latino
  • Humans
  • Logistic Models
  • Lung Neoplasms / diagnostic imaging*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Patient Acceptance of Health Care / ethnology
  • Patient Acceptance of Health Care / psychology*
  • Religion
  • Self Report
  • Spirituality
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed / economics
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed / psychology
  • Urban Population