Cancer Screening Patterns Among Current, Former, and Never Smokers in the United States, 2010-2015

Nina N. Sanford, David J. Sher, Santino Butler, Xiaohan Xu, Chul Ahn, Anthony V. D'Amico, Timothy Rebbeck, Ayal A. Aizer, Brandon A. Mahal

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


Importance: National guidelines recommend screening for several cancer types, yet screening rates remain below target. To date, cancer screening patterns by smoking status, a major cancer risk factor, are unknown. Objective: To assess cancer screening patterns among individuals who never smoked (never smokers), formerly smoked (former smokers), and currently smoke (current smokers) in the United States. Design, Setting, and Participants: This cross-sectional study assessed data from the National Health Interview Survey years 2010, 2013, and 2015. Adult participants (aged ≥18 years) who had never reported a cancer diagnosis were included in the analysis. Data were analyzed from August 1, 2018, through February 1, 2019. Exposures: Receipt of cancer screening, including colonoscopy, mammography, prostate-specific antigen testing, and Papanicolaou test per the US Preventive Services Task Force guidelines. Main Outcomes and Measures: Multivariable logistic regression defined adjusted odds ratios (AORs) and 95% CIs for undergoing cancer screening by smoking status. Among participants who received a specific screening test, AORs and 95% CIs of receiving the test within guideline-recommended intervals were also assessed. Results: Among 83 176 participants (45 851 [55.1%] women; mean [SD] age, 47 [18] years), 51 014 (61.3%) were never smokers; 17 235 (20.7%), former smokers; and 14 927 (17.9%), current smokers. Compared with never smokers, current smokers were less likely to ever have received a colonoscopy (43.8% vs 57.7%; AOR, 0.74; 95% CI, 0.68-0.82; P < .001), mammogram (88.8% vs 93.3%; AOR, 0.70; 95% CI, 0.57-0.87; P = .001), or prostate-specific antigen test (46.1% vs 60.8%; AOR, 0.76; 95% CI, 0.64-0.90; P = .001). Among those who had ever received a specific screening test, current smokers were less likely to have undergone colonoscopy (92.1% vs 95.1%; AOR, 0.75; 95% CI, 0.59-0.96; P = .02), mammography (62.4% vs 79.4%; AOR, 0.52; 95% CI, 0.45-0.60; P < .001), or Papanicolaou test (80.9% vs 90.8%; AOR, 0.61; 95% CI, 0.56-0.67; P < .001) within the recommended time frame compared with never smokers. Former smokers were more likely than never smokers to undergo any of the screening studies evaluated, with the exception of prostate-specific antigen screening (colonoscopy, 65.2% vs 57.7%; AOR, 1.20; 95% CI, 1.12-1.30; P < .001; mammography, 95.7% vs 93.3%; AOR, 1.35; 95% CI, 1.07-1.70; P = .01; Papanicolaou test, 97.6% vs 91.4%; AOR, 2.51; 95% CI, 1.93-3.26; P < .001). Conclusions and Relevance: This study found that current smokers appeared to be less likely to receive guideline-concordant screening studies for breast, prostate, and colorectal cancer compared with never smokers. Further research is needed to identify barriers to screening among current smokers with the goal of increasing acceptance and uptake of cancer screening among this population at high risk of cancer.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)e193759
JournalJAMA network open
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 3 2019


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