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Lung Cancer Stigma can Affect Treatment

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OXFORD, England, Jun 11, 2004 (United Press International via COMTEX) -- The stigma that lung cancer patients brought the disease on themselves can affect their personal interactions and even treatment, British researchers said.

Anti-smoking campaigns and other media outlets can often reinforce the idea that all lung cancer patients are smokers and are to blame for their disease, said Oxford University researchers.

Their studies show that patients feel particularly stigmatized whether they have smoked or not, and this often has affected their interactions with doctors, family and friends. Some lung cancer patients even went as far to conceal the illness, which can have serious consequences if the stigma inhibits them from seeking proper treatment, researchers said.

Other patients worried the stigma could even affect lung cancer research and treatment.

"People automatically think you've brought it on yourself and it's sort of a stigma," one patient said in a statement.

Though some patients blamed the media for reinforcing the stigma, others pointed to tobacco companies, the study reported.

Copyright 2004 by United Press International.


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