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Janelle Pellizzari

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    MA24 - Initiatives to Improve Health in Lung Cancer Patients (ID 354)

    • Event: WCLC 2019
    • Type: Mini Oral Session
    • Track: Advocacy
    • Presentations: 1
    • Now Available
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      MA24.09 - Stigma in Early Stage Lung Cancer (Now Available) (ID 2883)

      14:30 - 16:00  |  Author(s): Janelle Pellizzari

      • Abstract
      • Presentation
      • Slides


      Lung cancer stigma, arising from the causative relationship between smoking and lung cancer, can result in those with a lung cancer diagnosis being seen by themselves and others as responsible for and even deserving of their condition. Lung cancer stigma is linked to adverse outcomes for patients, including decreased quality of life and depression. Most studies have focused on stigma in patients with advanced lung cancer, whose experiences may differ from earlier stage, surgical patients with better prognosis. The objective of this study is to establish a baseline of stigma related experiences for patients presenting with early stage lung cancer. The overarching goal is to assist in determining appropriate interventions to decrease harmful stigma for patients with lung cancer.


      This study is a descriptive cross-sectional design using the 25-item previously validated Lung Cancer Stigma Inventory (LCSI). The LCSI was self-administered by patients with newly diagnosed lung cancer at a tertiary referral thoracic surgical clinic to quantitatively measure their experience of lung cancer stigma. Statistical comparisons were performed with Student’s t-test.


      128 patients were approached to participate and 53 completed the LCSI (response rate= 41.4%), 33 were women. All had resected early stage lung cancer except one patient staged pIIIA (I=41, II=11). 38 patients (71.7%) met the established threshold of a total LCSI score of 37.5, indicating a clinically meaningful level of stigma. Stigma was experienced predominantly on the Internalized Stigma subscale (mean 2.64/5), whereas scores on the Constrained Disclosure and Perceived Stigma subscales were lower (mean 1.84/5, 1.66/5). There was a trend towards higher overall stigma scores in current and former smokers compared to never smokers (mean 53.9 vs 39.8, p=0.12) There was no difference in stigma experience based on gender or stage, surgical approach or use of adjuvant chemotherapy.


      A surgical population of patients with early stage lung cancer experienced lung cancer stigma at a high rate, and at a level similar to previously studied populations with more advanced disease. Respondents experienced more internal stigma than stigma stemming from society or others. Exploratory analysis of this study’s results have informed the development of a further study, currently underway, using patient interviews to better understand patients’ experiences of lung cancer stigma, which may help to identify potential interventions to decrease lung cancer stigma and its impacts.

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