Risk Perception Among a Lung Cancer Screening Population Journal Articles uri icon

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  • BACKGROUND: A successful lung cancer screening program requires a patient cohort at sufficient risk of developing cancer who are willing to participate. Among other factors, a patient's lung cancer risk perception may inform their attitudes toward screening and smoking cessation programs. RESEARCH QUESTION: This study analyzed data from the Pan-Canadian Early Detection of Lung Cancer (PanCan) Study to address the following questions: Which factors are associated with the perception of lung cancer risk? Is there an association between risk perception for lung cancer and actual calculated risk? Is there an association between risk perception for lung cancer and the intent to quit smoking? Are there potential targets for lung cancer screening awareness? STUDY DESIGN AND METHODS: The PanCan study recruited current or former smokers aged 50 to 75 years who had at least a 2% risk of developing lung cancer over 6 years to undergo low-dose screening CT. Risk perception and worry about lung cancer were captured on a baseline questionnaire. Cumulative logistic regression analysis was used to assess the relationship between baseline risk variables and both lung cancer risk perception and worry. RESULTS: Among the 2,514 individuals analyzed, a higher perceived risk of lung cancer was positively associated with calculated risk (P = .032). Younger age, being a former smoker, respiratory symptoms, lower FEV1, COPD, and a family history of lung cancer were associated with higher perceived risk. Conversely, a consistent relationship between calculated risk and worry was not identified. There was a positive association between risk perception and lung cancer worry and reported intent to quit smoking. INTERPRETATION: Individuals' lung cancer risk perception correlated positively with calculated risk in a screening population. Promotion of screening programs may benefit from focusing on factors associated with higher risk perception; conversely, harnessing worry seemingly holds less value.


  • Turner, Jane
  • Pond, Gregory
  • Tremblay, Alain
  • Johnston, Michael
  • Goss, Glen
  • Nicholas, Garth
  • Martel, Simon
  • Bhatia, Rick
  • Liu, Geoffrey
  • Schmidt, Heidi
  • Tammemagi, Martin C
  • Puksa, Serge
  • Atkar-Khattra, Sukhinder
  • Tsao, Ming-Sound
  • Lam, Stephen
  • Goffin, John

publication date

  • August 2021

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