Promoting Clinical Conversations about Lung Cancer Screening: Exploring the Role of Perceived Online Social Support

J Health Commun. 2020 Aug 2;25(8):650-659. doi: 10.1080/10810730.2020.1836087. Epub 2020 Oct 29.


The perceived availability of online social support may contribute to patient-provider conversations about lung cancer screening. This study examines how the perceived availability of instrumental and emotional online social support is associated with patient-provider communication about lung cancer screening among adults who meet U.S. Preventive Services Taskforce (USPSTF) eligibility criteria and live with a COPD diagnosis. In April 2018, 575 adults completed an online survey after being recruited from a large southeastern academic medical center's broad research registry and website listing. Nearly half of the participants were 55-to-80 years old (41%), a current or former smoker who had quit smoking within the past 15 years (42%), and reported a smoking prevalence of 30 pack years or more (PPY; 41%). Results demonstrate that having a COPD diagnosis, identifying as male, and being a current or former tobacco smoker resulted in greater odds of having a clinical conversation about lung cancer screening. Conversely, meeting the 30 PPY smoking and 55-to-80 age thresholds lowered the odds of having these conversations. A high degree of instrumental and emotional online social support was associated with a greater incidence of annual patient-provider conversations about screening. This combination of perceived online social support was especially useful for patients with COPD.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Communication*
  • Early Detection of Cancer*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lung Neoplasms / diagnosis*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Physician-Patient Relations*
  • Pulmonary Disease, Chronic Obstructive / diagnosis
  • Smokers / psychology
  • Smokers / statistics & numerical data
  • Social Support*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Young Adult