This article is available freely via Open Access. Please click on the above link to view it fully.
Objective To examine the psychosocial consequences of being allocated to the control group as compared with the screen group in a randomised lung cancer screening trial.
Method The Danish Lung Cancer Screening Trial, a randomised controlled trial, ran from 2004 to 2010 with the purpose of investigating the benefits and harms of lung cancer screening. The participants in Danish Lung Cancer Screening Trial were randomised to either the control group or the screen group and were asked to complete the questionnaires Consequences Of Screening and Consequences Of Screening in Lung Cancer (COS-LC). The Consequences Of Screening and the COS-LC were used to examine the psychosocial consequences of participating in the study, by comparing the control and the screen groups’ responses at the prevalence and at the incidence round.
Results There was no statistically significant difference in socio-demographic characteristics or smoking habits between the two groups. Responses to the COS-LC collected before the incidence round were statistically significantly different on the scales ‘anxiety’, ‘behaviour’, ‘dejection’, ‘self-blame’, ‘focus on airway symptoms’ and ‘introvert’, with the control group reporting higher negative psychosocial consequences. Furthermore, the participants in both the control and the screen groups exhibited a mean increase in negative psychosocial consequences when their responses from the prevalence round were compared with their responses from the first incidence round.
Conclusions Participation in a randomised controlled trial on lung cancer screening has negative psychosocial consequences for the apparently healthy participants—both the participants in the screen group and the control group. This negative impact was greatest for the control group.