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Stigma strong against lung cancer patients

06 Nov 2019
Lung cancer patients suffer from stigma, which compromises their self-esteem and self-efficacy, according to a recent China study.

Researchers enrolled 283 lung cancer patients (mean age, 52.98±11.08 years; 61.5 percent male) who were asked to complete questionnaires that collected, among other things, demographic variables, disease disclosure, negative changes in body image or family relationships, and perceived blame. The social impact scale (SIS) was used to measure lung cancer stigma.

More than a third (39.6 percent) of the participants hid their diagnosis from others, while almost all reported negative changes in economic burden (91.5 percent) and body image (90.8 percent). Almost a quarter (23.7 percent) reported perceived blame. The mean SIS score was 2.38±0.45, indicating moderate stigma.

Stigma was significantly and negatively correlated with patient self-esteem (r, –0.607; p<0.001) and coping self-efficacy (r, –0.424; p<0.001).

Multiple linear regression analysis confirmed that elevated levels of stigma were significantly associated with poor self-esteem (adjusted r2, 0.367; p<0.001) and coping self-efficacy (adjusted r2, 0.470; p=0.028).

Other significant correlates of stigma included younger age (adjusted r2, 0.476; p=0.037), higher cancer stage (adjusted r2, 0.463; p=0.019), perceived blame (adjusted r2, 0.436; p=0.002), concealment of diagnosis (adjusted r2, 0.455; p=0.01), and greater negative impacts on financial burden (adjusted r2, 0.420; p=0.001), body image (adjusted r2, 0.446; p=0.051) and family relationship (adjusted r2, 0.482; p=0.049).

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