Fox Chase Study Examines Health Risks for Family and Friends of Lung Cancer Patients

November 15, 2010

PHILADELPHIA (November 15, 2010) – The Cancer Prevention and Control Program at Fox Chase Cancer Center is developing a program to examine and address health risks for smokers who are family or friends of lung cancer patients.  Participants receive health risk assessment, a counseling session on smoking, and self-help materials, as well as a gift upon completion of the study. In addition, participants can receive referrals for medications and additional counseling to help them quit smoking. They must be 18 years or older, currently smoke at least 10 cigarettes per day, and be a friend or family member of a lung cancer patient. They are not required to live near Fox Chase or quit smoking during the study.

“This research study will provide valuable information that will help us improve Fox Chase’s lung cancer prevention and smoking cessation services,” says Carolyn Heckman, PhD, behavioral researcher at Fox Chase and principal investigator on the study.  “At the same time, we hope to motivate members of this high-risk group to improve their health and quit smoking by providing them with personalized information about their health risks.”

The assessment includes personalized feedback based on participants’ responses to a questionnaire, as well as screening for a substance commonly used to measure tobacco smoke exposure in saliva. Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death in America for both men and women. Unlike other cancers, for which survival rates have improved in recent years, survival for patients with advanced lung cancers remains low. The increased risks for smokers, especially those with a family history of lung cancer, are considerable. Definitive early risk and screening measures have not yet been established for lung cancer.

“About eighty percent of lung cancers in the U.S. occur among smokers, and smokers with a family history of lung cancer may have an even higher risk of developing the disease,” says Hossein Borghaei, DO, director of the Lung Cancer Risk Assessment Program at Fox Chase.

Information gained from the study, which is funded by a grant from the American Cancer Society, will help Fox Chase researchers develop better tobacco cessation services for those at risk for lung cancer.  Fox Chase provides Risk Assessment Programs for lung, breast, ovarian, gastrointestinal, melanoma, and prostate cancers, which include prevention research as well as cancer screenings.

For more information or to sign up for this research study, please contact Sara Filseth at or 215-728-2712.


The Hospital of Fox Chase Cancer Center and its affiliates (collectively “Fox Chase Cancer Center”), a member of the Temple University Health System, is one of the leading cancer research and treatment centers in the United States. Founded in 1904 in Philadelphia as one of the nation’s first cancer hospitals, Fox Chase was also among the first institutions to be designated a National Cancer Institute Comprehensive Cancer Center in 1974. Fox Chase researchers have won the highest awards in their fields, including two Nobel Prizes. Fox Chase physicians are also routinely recognized in national rankings, and the Center’s nursing program has received the Magnet recognition for excellence five consecutive times. Today, Fox Chase conducts a broad array of nationally competitive basic, translational, and clinical research, with special programs in cancer prevention, detection, survivorship and community outreach. It is the policy of Fox Chase Cancer Center that there shall be no exclusion from, or participation in, and no one denied the benefits of, the delivery of quality medical care on the basis of race, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity/expression, disability, age, ancestry, color, national origin, physical ability, level of education, or source of payment.


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