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Mapping the spectrum of psychological and behavioural responses to low-dose CT lung cancer screening offered within a Lung Health Check

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Sonja Kummer, Jo Waller, Mamta Ruparel, Judith Cass, Samuel M. Janes, Samantha L. Quaife

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)433-441
Number of pages9
JournalHealth Expectations
Issue number2
Published1 Apr 2020

King's Authors


Background: Research on the psychological impact of low-dose computed tomography (LDCT) lung cancer screening has typically been narrow in scope and restricted to the trial setting. Objective: To explore the range of psychological and behavioural responses to LDCT screening offered as part of a Lung Heath Check (LHC), including lung cancer risk assessment, spirometry testing, a carbon monoxide reading and smoking cessation advice. Methods: Semi-structured interviews were carried out with 28 current and former smokers (aged 60-75), who had undergone LDCT screening as part of a LHC appointment and mostly received an incidental or indeterminate result (n = 23). Framework analysis was used to map the spectrum of responses participants had across the LHC appointment and screening pathway, to their LDCT results and to surveillance. Results: Interviewees reported a diverse range of both positive and negative psychological responses, beginning at invitation and spanning the entire LHC appointment (including spirometry) and LDCT screening pathway. Similarly, positive behavioural responses extended beyond smoking cessation to include anticipated implications for other cancer prevention and early detection behaviours, such as symptom presentation. Individual differences in responses appeared to be influenced by smoking status and LDCT result, as well as modifiable factors including perceived risk and health status, social support, competing priorities, fatalism and perceived stigma. Conclusions: The diverse ways in which participants responded to screening, both psychologically and behaviourally, should direct a broader research agenda to ensure all stages of screening delivery and communication are designed to promote well-being, motivate positive behaviour change and maximize patient benefit.

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