Former Smokers More Likely to Light Up After Negative Lung Cancer Screenings

By Kim Polacek, APR, CPRC - November 02, 2020

Lung cancer is the second most common cancer in the United States and the leading cause of cancer death in the country. Lung cancer screening is paramount because when the cancer is caught early, patients have a much better chance of survival.

Lung Cancer Screening

Those eligible are:
• ages 55 to 80
• a current or former smoker with a 30-pack per year history

Screening guidelines are based on age and smoking history, the number one risk factor for lung cancer. While many smokers and former smokers are receiving low-dose computed tomography, or low-dose CT scans, a new study from Moffitt Cancer Center suggests those screening results could be providing a false sense of security and leading former smokers back to cigarettes.

Researchers did a post hoc analysis of data from the National Lung Screening Trial, a study that found low-dose CT scans in high-risk individuals can significantly reduce lung cancer mortality. They found that highly nicotine dependent former smokers were significantly more likely to begin smoking again by the end of the trial, which included three separate lung cancer screenings.

“It is difficult to say what may have caused former smokers to return to smoking cigarettes, but our results do highlight the importance of smoking cessation interventions in the lung cancer screening setting,” said Dr. Monica Reyes, postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Cancer Epidemiology who presented this finding at the virtual North America Conference on Lung Cancer.

There was some encouraging news from the study: participants who were current heavy smokers at the time of the trial were more likely to quit following the initial screening.

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Kim Polacek, APR, CPRC Senior PR Account Coordinator More Articles

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