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Do Smokers Stick to Cancer Screening Guidelines?

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Nina Niu Sanford, M.D. Assistant ProfessorUT Southwestern Department of Radiation OncologyDallas TX 75390

Dr. Sanford

Nina Niu Sanford, M.D. 
Assistant Professor
UT Southwestern Department of Radiation Oncology
Dallas TX 75390 

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: The background of this study is that smoking is associated with increased risk for multiple cancer types, although the most commonly noted association is between smoking and lung cancer – because of this, lung cancer screening guidelines have been established for current smokers and those who have recently quit.

What is less well known is whether patients who smoke are more or less likely to adhere to screening guidelines for other cancer types.

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? 

Response: In this study, we found that current smokers were less likely to adhere to national screening guidelines for prostate, breast and colorectal cancer, as compared to never smokers. 

MedicalResearch.com: What should readers take away from your report? 

Response: That smokers are less likely to undergo age appropriate cancer screening for several major cancer types.  This is important because they are at baseline higher risk for these cancers thus without screening, would be more likely to present at advanced stage.  We know that current smoking is a risk factor for worse cancer-specific outcomes, and delayed diagnosis could be one of the contributing factors.

MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this work?

Response: Further research is needed to identify the barriers to cancer screening among individuals who smoke, such that initiatives can be undertaken to increase uptake of cancer screening among this population.


Sanford NN, Sher DJ, Butler S, et al. Cancer Screening Patterns Among Current, Former, and Never Smokers in the United States, 2010-2015. JAMA Netw Open. 2019;2(5):e193759. doi:10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2019.3759

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Last Updated on May 19, 2019 by Marie Benz MD FAAD