What is included in patient education about non–small cell lung cancer (NSCLC)?

Updated: Jul 15, 2021
  • Author: Winston W Tan, MD, FACP; Chief Editor: Nagla Abdel Karim, MD, PhD  more...
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Advise patients that smoking cessation is the most important measure for preventing lung cancer; it may also improve prognosis in patients with early-stage lung cancer. [28] Smoking cessation by others who share the patient’s home, car, or both is also important. According to published data, the use of nicotine alternatives (eg, gum, patch, spray) instead of cigarettes reduces the incidence of lung cancer, although it does not affect the incidence of ischemic heart disease.

Advise the patient to avoid asbestos exposure. Consider prophylactic administration of retinoids, such as beta-carotene.

Where appropriate, patient education should include a discussion of lung cancer screening. The American Cancer Society recommends annual lung cancer screening with a low-dose computed tomography (LDCT) scan for individuals at higher risk for lung cancer who meet all of the following conditions:

  • Are aged 55 to 74 years and in fairly good health
  • Currently smoke or have quit within the past 15 years
  • Have at least a 30-pack-year smoking history
  • Receive smoking cessation counseling if they are current smokers
  • Have been involved in informed/shared decision making about the benefits, limitations, and harms of screening with LDCT scans,
  • Have access to a high-volume, high-quality lung cancer screening and treatment center

See also Workup/Screening. For patient education information, see Lung Cancer.

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