Patients undergoing lung cancer screening experience elevated levels of distress

Low-dose computed tomography (LDCT) lung cancer screening is recommended to screen patients with an increased risk of developing lung cancer, but little research regarding the emotional toll of screening has been conducted. Researchers from Stony Brook Cancer Center in Stony Brook, New York found 43 percent of patients undergoing LDCT experienced elevated distress before screening, and one-third of patients experienced continued distress even after being told there was no sign of cancer.

Risk factors for increased distress post-screening included female gender, being a current smoker, and having a prior personal history of lung disease. Researchers found that the findings support the need for distress monitoring and possible clinical intervention to support the well being of patients undergoing screening.

"Elevated levels of distress may serve as barriers to care and negatively impact health-related quality of life among patients being screened for lung cancer," said Dr. April Plank, Stony Brook Cancer Center, and lead researcher, "it is imperative that programs take into consideration the psychological well being of patients—especially women, current smokers, and those with a history of , who appear to be at greater risk for psychological and emotional distress."

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More information: Further results will be shared during CHEST 2015 on October 28 at 1:30 pm in the Exhibit Hall, Palais des Congrès de Montréal.
Citation: Patients undergoing lung cancer screening experience elevated levels of distress (2015, October 19) retrieved 17 May 2021 from
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