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Fox Chase Cancer Center Study Demonstrates Need for Smoking Cessation Counseling With Spiral CT Scan for Detection of Early Lung Cancer

PHILADELPHIA (March 11, 2002) -- Only 19 percent of current smokers say they would quit smoking if a CT scan to detect lung cancer was negative, but 91 percent say they would want smoking cessation counseling. These findings are part of a Fox Chase Cancer Center study that measured the attitudes and beliefs about the uses of spiral CT for early detection of lung cancer among a high-risk population. The study will be presented at the American Society of Preventative Oncology meeting March 11, 2002.

The research measured outcomes that included awareness of a spiral CT scan for early lung detection, participants' interest in and likelihood of undergoing a CT scan, and expected effects of screening results on changing participants' subsequent behavior.

"Studies on the clinical effectiveness of the use of a spiral CT scan for the early detection of lung cancer are ongoing and behavioral studies concerning spiral CT are necessary to help guide the design of interventions that would be needed if CT screening becomes a realization," explains Robert A. Schnoll, Ph.D., associate member of Fox Chase Cancer Center's population science division and principal investigator for the study.

One hundred seventy-two (172) individuals at a high risk of developing lung cancer -current or former smokers with no personal history of cancer-were asked if they had ever heard of spiral CT for lung cancer screening and were given current information about the use of CT for lung cancer screening. They were then asked to complete a brief survey.

The surveys show that 77 percent of respondents were unaware that spiral CT is a potential lung cancer screening method. After receiving information about the procedure, 43 percent of respondents expressed high interest in receiving a CT scan, and 35 percent said they intend to seek a screening.

Respondents with a family history of lung cancer who report lung cancer-related symptoms and exhibit greater self -confidence about screening show a greater interest in CT screening. In addition, current smokers with lung cancer symptoms who were aware that lung cancer forms before symptoms develop demonstrated a greater intention of pursuing a CT scan. Greater intention to pursue screening also was related to self-confidence about screening and fatalistic beliefs.

The study also measured the respondents' expected effects of receiving a spiral CT scan. "Only 19 percent of those [should be whom, but just delete it] we surveyed said they would quit smoking if the scan gave them a clean bill of health, and 51 percent said they would quit if the scan was positive for lung cancer," said Dr. Schnoll. "That means that more than 80 percent would continue smoking despite the effort to monitor their health.

"Another revealing aspect of our study was that 90 percent of our participants said they were interested in smoking cessation counseling if offered a scan. Thus, lung cancer screening may be a particularly effective time to promote abstinence from tobacco use.

"Clearly, these results support the necessity of integrating smoking cessation counseling into screening programs for lung cancer," Dr. Schnoll added. "The overall benefit of encouraging smoking cessation extends to the prevention of other lung diseases and heart disease."

Other authors of this study, supported by the National Cancer Institute, include Pamela Bradley, M.Ed., Suzanne Miller, Ph.D., Michael Unger, M.D., Jim Babb, Ph.D., and Mark Cornfeld, M.D., all of Fox Chase Cancer Center.

Fox Chase Cancer Center, one of the nation's first comprehensive cancer centers designated by the National Cancer Institute in 1974, conducts basic and clinical research; programs of prevention, detection and treatment of cancer; and community outreach. For more information about Fox Chase activities, visit the Center's web site at www.fccc.edu.


Fox Chase Cancer Center, part of the Temple University Health System, is one of the leading cancer research and treatment centers in the United States. Founded in 1904 in Philadelphia as one of the nation’s first cancer hospitals, Fox Chase was also among the first institutions to be designated a National Cancer Institute Comprehensive Cancer Center in 1974. Fox Chase researchers have won the highest awards in their fields, including two Nobel Prizes. Fox Chase physicians are also routinely recognized in national rankings, and the Center’s nursing program has received the Magnet recognition for excellence four consecutive times. Today, Fox Chase conducts a broad array of nationally competitive basic, translational, and clinical research, with special programs in cancer prevention, detection, survivorship, and community outreach.  For more information, call 1-888-FOX CHASE or (1-888-369-2427).

Media inquiries only, please contact Diana Quattrone at 215-728-7784.

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