Lung cancer screening can help save lives, but it can be difficult to start the conversation about screening with someone you care about. Below are some tips for talking to someone you know about lung cancer screening:
Be encouraging, non-judgmental and empathetic
It can be scary for someone with a smoking history to think about being screened for lung cancer. Often, people who smoke or have smoked feel guilty for smoking, and wish they never started. Smoking is a powerful addiction and most smokers started when they were young before they knew about the health risks. Remind your loved one that you will support them no matter what, and that you are not judging them for their smoking history.
Focus on the potential benefits
The prospect of finding lung cancer is frightening. Some people may shy away from screening because they think lung cancer is a death sentence. Educate your loved one about how screening helps find lung cancer early when it is much easier to treat. Also, there are more lung cancer treatment options available today than ever before. You might want to share some stories of people who were saved by the scan.
Break down barriers
Your loved one might be concerned about the cost of the screening test. You can remind them that screening is available without a cost-sharing for patients who meet the high-risk criteria. Also, some people haven't been to a doctor in years, or shy away from making medical appointments. Offer to help your loved one set up the appointment, so it is one less roadblock.
Remind them you care
Let the information sink in
Sometimes, people need time to mull over information and think about it before they come to a decision. Share this website and its resources with your loved one. Let them know the American Lung Association's Lung HelpLine is available to answer any questions they may have. Encourage them to talk to their doctor. If your loved one still doesn’t want to get screened, you may want to try to have the conversation again in a few months. Maybe their perspective has changed after they've had time to sit with the information. Let them know you will support them during the whole process.
Page last updated: April 15, 2020