Veterans Overwhelmingly Want Lung Cancer Screening

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CHARLESTON, SC – Nearly all surveyed veterans said they would be interested in being scanned for lung cancer and would willingly undergo surgery if the disease were diagnosed, according to a study published recently in the journal Chest.

With lung cancer the leading cause of cancer-related death at the VHA, researchers sought to assess beliefs and attitudes about lung cancer screening in veterans. Background in the article emphasized that the lung cancer burden among veterans was almost double that of the general U.S. population.1

Veterans seeking care at the Ralph H. Johnson Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Charleston, SC, were invited to complete a self-administered lung cancer survey. The survey contained questions about demographics, smoking status, health status and knowledge about lung cancer and willingness to be screened.

The survey was completed by 209 veterans, and responses of ever and never smokers were compared.

The report noted that smokers were significantly more likely than never smokers to be less educated, have a lower income, and report poorer health. They also were more likely to have two or more comorbidities, to have been advised by a physician that they were at high risk of lung cancer and to believe that they were at risk.

Overall, in the survey, 92.8% of respondents said they would have a computed tomography (CT) scan for lung cancer, and 92.4% said they would have surgery if lung cancer was detected during the screen.

For these survey respondents, “The mortality benefit of LC screening, however, may not be generalizable to the veteran population due to a higher number of comorbid conditions,” the authors point out.

  1. Tanner NT, Egede LE, Shamblin C, Gebregziabher M, Silvestri GA. Attitudes and

beliefs toward lung cancer screening among US Veterans. Chest. 2013 Jun 13. doi:

10.1378/chest.13-0056. [Epub ahead of print] PubMed PMID: 23764896.

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