Negative attitudes toward smokers extend to patients with lung cancer, regardless of whether or not they have ever actually smoked. Data presented at the Oncology Nursing Society 11th National Conference on Cancer Nursing showed how "lung cancer stigma" causes depression and reduces overall quality of life in both smokers and nonsmokers with lung cancer.
Janine K. Cataldo, PhD, RN, University of California, San Francisco, who presented the research, discussed lung cancer stigma in a press release. "Perceived lung cancer stigma can be described as the person’s awareness of their lung cancer as it relates to social disqualifi cation, limitations in opportunities, and negative changes in social identity," Cataldo said.
Cataldo's study accrued 189 self-reported patients with lung cancer, ranging from aged 20 to 88 years (median age, 55 years). The majority of the patients were male (56%) and white (85%). Eighty percent of the participants were current or ex-smokers. Data were obtained through online questionnaires.
Depression affected 55% of respondents, according to the criteria of the Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale (CES-D). Statistical analysis also revealed a strong negative correlation between lung cancer stigma and quality of life. Smoking status did not have a statistically signifi cant impact on the results. The study recommended intervening to prevent the negative effects of lung cancer stigma.