Societal perceptions may factor into the high rates of nontreatment in patients with lung cancer. To determine whether bias exists toward lung cancer, a study using the Implicit Association Test method of inferring subconscious attitudes and stereotypes from participant reaction times to visual cues was initiated. Participants were primarily recruited from an online survey panel based on US census data. Explicit attitudes regarding lung and breast cancer were derived from participants' ratings (n = 1778) regarding what they thought patients experienced in terms of guilt, shame, and hope (descriptive statements) and from participants' opinions regarding whether patients ought to experience such feelings (normative statements). Participants' responses to descriptive and normative statements about lung cancer were compared with responses to statements about breast cancer. Analyses of responses revealed that the participants were more likely to agree with negative descriptive and normative statements about lung cancer than breast cancer (P<0.001). Furthermore, participants had significantly stronger implicit negative associations with lung cancer compared with breast cancer; mean response times in the lung cancer/negative conditions were significantly shorter than in the lung cancer/positive conditions (P<0.001). Patients, caregivers, healthcare providers, and members of the general public had comparable levels of negative implicit attitudes toward lung cancer. These results show that lung cancer was stigmatized by patients, caregivers, healthcare professionals, and the general public. Further research is needed to investigate whether implicit and explicit attitudes and stereotypes affect patient care.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)