Many lung cancer patients, whether they smoke, have quit or have never smoked, feel stigmatized because the disease is so strongly associated with smoking. Stigma often results in negative reactions and blame from others and a perception that those patients ‘brought it upon themselves.’ As a result of this stigma, patients may experience:
- Complex self-blame and intensified guilt and shame.
- Fear of disclosing one’s diagnosis of lung cancer.
- Avoidance of social situations, leading to increased feelings of isolation.
- Increased stress and difficulty coping.
- Threats to economic opportunities and financial problems.
For more information about stigma and lung cancer, click here.