The majority of current and former smokers would welcome screenings for lung cancer if their insurance covered spiral computed tomography (CT) scans, according to research from Roswell Park Cancer Institute and the Medical University of South Carolina.
Those findings were and published online this week ahead of print in the journal Lung Cancer.
More than 1,200 adult current smokers and former smokers were surveyed about their attitudes toward lung cancer screening using spiral CT scans. Current smokers (78.5 percent) and former smokers (81.4 percent) said they would be willing to be tested, if advised to do so by their physician.
Reasons why smokers are not willing to be screened included: a lack of insurance coverage (smokers: 33 percent; former smokers: 25 percent) and a fear of being diagnosed with lung cancer (smokers: 33 percent; former smokers: 12.5 percent). Among former smokers, the most commonly cited reason for not having the screening was a belief that they did not have lung cancer.
Lung cancer often displays few systems until it’s in an advanced stage. The recent National Lung Cancer Screen Trial, a major study involving 53,454 current or former heavy smokers, reported a 20 percent reduction in mortality rate when lung cancer was diagnosed using spiral CT, compared to annual chest X-rays. Currently, only 17 percent of patients treated for lung cancer survive beyond five years, Roswell officials said in a news release.
Several professional organizations have recommended lung cancer screening with spiral CT, including the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, American Association of Thoracic Surgery and American Cancer Society, officials with the cancer hospital said.