Health-Related and Behavioral Factors Associated With Lung Cancer Stage at Diagnosis: Observations From Alberta's Tomorrow Project

Cancer Control. 2022 Jan-Dec:29:10732748221091678. doi: 10.1177/10732748221091678.


Background: Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death in Canada, with stage at diagnosis among the top predictors of lung cancer survival. Identifying factors associated with stage at diagnosis can help reduce lung cancer morbidity and mortality. This study used data from a prospective cohort study of adults living in Alberta, Canada to examine factors associated with lung cancer stage at diagnosis.

Methods: This cohort study used data from adults aged 35-69 years enrolled in Alberta's Tomorrow Project. Partial Proportional Odds models were used to examine associations between sociodemographic characteristics and health-related factors and subsequent lung cancer stage at diagnosis.

Results: A total of 221 participants (88 males and 133 females) developed lung cancer over the study period. Nearly half (48.0%) of lung cancers were diagnosed at a late stage (stage IV), whereas 30.8 % and 21.3% were diagnosed at stage I/II and III, respectively. History of sunburn in the past year was protective against late-stage lung cancer diagnosis (odds ratio (OR) .40, P=.005). In males, a higher number of lifetime prostate specific antigen tests was associated with reduced odds of late-stage lung cancer diagnosis (odds ratio .66, P=.02). Total recreational physical activity was associated with increased odds of late-stage lung cancer diagnosis (OR 1.08, P=.01).

Discussion: Lung cancer stage at diagnosis remains a crucial determinant of prognosis. This study identified important factors associated with lung cancer stage at diagnosis. Study findings can inform targeted cancer prevention initiatives towards improving early detection of lung cancer and lung cancer survival.

Keywords: Canada; cancer screening; lung cancer symptoms; prostate specific antigen; recreational activity; sun exposure.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Alberta / epidemiology
  • Cohort Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lung Neoplasms* / diagnosis
  • Lung Neoplasms* / epidemiology
  • Male
  • Prospective Studies
  • Surveys and Questionnaires