Lung cancer stigma adds to patients’ distress

The study, presented to the Clinical Oncology Society of Australia’s annual scientific meeting in Adelaide this week, found that stigma was part of the lung cancer experience for smokers and non-smokers, and included both patients and carers.

Sue Sinclair, general manager of service development and clinical practice at Cancer Australia, said the stress of a lung cancer diagnosis could be compounded by the stigma associated with the disease.

“Despite a large proportion of lung cancer patients having increased levels of distress, anxiety and depression due to stigma, only 17% of patients surveyed had accessed a mental healthcare professional, and only 20% indicated an intention to seek psychological support,” she said.

“It is important to address stigma associated with lung cancer so that those people diagnosed receive the full range of treatment and support available to them.”

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