The mediation of social influences on smoking cessation and awareness of the early signs of lung cancer.
Chatwin J, Povey A, Kennedy A, Frank T, Firth A, Booton R, Barber P, Sanders C.
Background Whilst there has been no clear consensus on the potential for earlier diagnosis of lung cancer, recent research has suggested that the time between symptom onset and consultation can be long enough to plausibly affect prognosis. In this article, we present findings from a qualitative study involving in-depth interviews with patients who had been diagnosed with lung cancer (n = 11), and people who were at heightened risk of developing the disease (n = 14). Methods A grounded theory methodology was drawn upon to conduct thematic and narrative based approaches to analysis. Results The paper focuses on three main themes which emerged from the study: i) fatalism and resignation in pathways to help-seeking and the process of diagnosis; ii) Awareness of smoking risk and response to cessation information and advice. iii) The role of social and other networks on help-seeking. Key findings included: poor awareness among participants of the symptoms of lung cancer; ambivalence about the dangers of smoking; the perception of lung cancer as part of a homogenisation of multiple illnesses; close social networks as a key trigger in help-seeking. Conclusions We suggest that future smoking cessation and lung cancer awareness campaigns could usefully capitalise on the influence of close social networks, and would benefit from taking a ‘softer’ approach.