Lung cancer stigma predicts timing of medical help-seeking behavior

Lisa Carter-Harris, Carla P. Hermann, Judy Schreiber, Michael T. Weaver, Susan M. Rawl

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

33 Scopus citations

Abstract

Purpose/Objectives: To examine relationships among demographic variables, healthcare system distrust, lung cancer stigma, smoking status, and timing of medical help-seeking behavior in individuals with symptoms suggestive of lung cancer after controlling for ethnicity, socioeconomic status, and social desirability. Design: Descriptive, cross-sectional, correlational study. Setting: Outpatient oncology clinics in Louisville, KY. Sample: 94 patients diagnosed in the past three weeks to six years with all stages of lung cancer. Methods: Self-report, written survey packets were administered in person followed by a semistructured interview to assess symptoms and timing characteristics of practice-identified patients with lung cancer. Main Research Variables: Timing of medical help-seeking behavior, healthcare system distrust, lung cancer stigma, and smoking status. Findings: Lung cancer stigma was independently associated with timing of medical help-seeking behavior in patients with lung cancer. Healthcare system distrust and smoking status were not independently associated with timing of medical help-seeking behavior. Conclusions: Findings suggest that stigma influences medical help-seeking behavior for lung cancer symptoms, serving as a barrier to prompt medical help-seeking behavior. Implications for Nursing: When designing interventions to promote early medical help-seeking behavior in individuals with symptoms suggestive of lung cancer, methods that consider lung cancer stigma as a barrier that can be addressed through public awareness and patient-targeted interventions should be included.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)E203-E210
JournalOncology nursing forum
Volume41
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - May 2014

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Keywords

  • Decision making
  • Healthcare system distrust
  • Lung cancer
  • Lung cancer stigma
  • Medical help-seeking behavior

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology(nursing)
  • Medicine(all)

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