Patients who are at high-risk for developing lung cancer can be identified through the use of a questionnaire, according to a study featured in the Journal of Thoracic Oncology (November 2009;4[11]:1347-1351).

For the study, more than 1000 patients were surveyed by primary care office staff during visits for general health issues. Evaluating physicians asked patients to complete a 5-minute questionnaire that asked specific questions about smoking habits, occupational environment, subsequent exposure to chemicals, and family history. 

The study confirmed 18 cases of cancer among the original 430 patients who qualified as high risk after completing the questionnaire. After 5 years, the study also confirmed lung cancer in 8 patients with obstructed airflow and 10 in patients without.

“Simple by design, our initiative received widespread community support from physicians, patients, and hospitals,” said lead investigator Thomas Petty, MD. “By providing the guidelines for pointed questions when patients are face-to-face with physicians, we can begin to identify those at risk.”