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Abnormal lung scan may be 'teachable moment' for smokers

© iStockphoto.com / Sebastian Kaulitzki © iStockphoto.com / Sebastian Kaulitzki

THURSDAY, May 29, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- The more serious their lung cancer screening results, the more likely smokers are to give up cigarettes, a new study finds.

While it's known that screening leads to early detection and treatment of lung cancer, this new finding suggests it could also help motivate smokers to quit.

The study results show that "abnormal screening results may present a 'teachable moment,'" wrote Martin Tammemagi, of Brock University in St. Catharines, Canada, and colleagues.

"Future lung cancer screening programs should take advantage of this opportunity to apply effective smoking cessation programs," they added.

For the study, published May 28 in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, researchers analyzed data from more than 14,000 smokers, aged 55 to 70, in the United States. They underwent an initial lung cancer screening and follow-up screenings one and two years later.

Their screening results were classified in five levels ranging from normal to suspicious for lung cancer. The more serious their screening results, the more likely they were to stop smoking. This effect lasted for five years after the last screening.

People who developed lung cancer during the follow-up were excluded from the study.

More information

The U.S. National Cancer Institute has more about lung cancer screening.

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