Lung Cancer Patients Burdened by Stigma

Many feel they are blamed for their own disease, study finds

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FRIDAY, June 11, 2004 (HealthDayNews) -- The stigma, shame and blame experienced by people who get lung cancer can have a serious negative impact on them.

That's the finding of a new study in the June 12 issue of the British Medical Journal.

According to the study, anti-smoking campaigns may add to this stigma because they may reinforce some peoples' opinions that lung cancer patients are to blame for their disease.

Oxford researchers interviewed 45 people with lung cancer who, whether or not they smoked, said they felt burdened with stigma because lung cancer is so strongly associated with smoking.

As a result, the patients said their interaction with family, friends and doctors was often affected. Many patients, especially nonsmokers or those who had quit smoking, said they felt they were being unjustly blamed for their disease.

The study found some of the lung cancer patients concealed their illness. That sometimes resulted in serious consequences, such as patients not seeking all the required treatment for their lung cancer.

More information

The American Lung Association has more about lung cancer.

SOURCE: British Medical Journal, news release, June 11, 2004

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