Original Study| Volume 20, ISSUE 1, e115-e122, January 2019

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Perceptions and Utilization of Lung Cancer Screening Among Smokers Enrolled in a Tobacco Cessation Program

Published:October 26, 2018DOI:



      Although lung cancer screening (LCS) with low-dose computed tomography (LDCT) reduces lung cancer mortality in high-risk patients, most of those eligible are not referred for screening. Tobacco cessation counseling may be an opportune time to educate people about LCS, but little is known about the utilization and perceptions of LCS among people undergoing tobacco cessation treatment.

      Materials and Methods

      We surveyed 185 current smokers, including 122 smokers between the ages of 55 and 80 years, who were attending a tobacco cessation class in a large integrated health care system regarding lung cancer risk perception and perceived benefits, harms, and barriers to LCS. We analyzed results according to whether participants had already undergone LCS and also whether they had undergone colorectal cancer screening.


      A minority (18.9%) of participants had undergone LCS, and no participant who had not undergone LCS was familiar with LCS. Perceived lung cancer risk was high, and screening was believed to be beneficial. Common barriers included being a current smoker (56.6%), worrying about test results (52.5%), lack of knowledge about the test (50.8%), absence of symptoms of lung cancer (40.2%), costs of the study (35.2%), and worrying about being blamed for having smoked (33.6%). Perceived risk and barriers to LDCT were similar among people who had or had not previously undergone colorectal cancer screening.


      Utilization of LCS was low, and few smokers were aware of LDCT for LCS. A number of patient-related barriers to screening exist among smokers. Tobacco cessation counseling may be an opportune time to provide education regarding LCS with LDCT.


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