Coping with an Advanced Stage Lung Cancer Diagnosis: Patient, Caregiver, and Provider Perspectives on the Role of the Health Care System

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Journal of Cancer Education






Although lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death in the USA, there have been few studies on patient-centered advanced lung cancer treatment practices. As part of a larger research study on how to use a patient-inclusive approach in late-stage lung cancer treatment, this present study describes patient, caregiver, and provider perspectives on the role of the health care system in helping patients cope with an advanced stage lung cancer diagnosis. Four focus group sessions were conducted with six to eleven participants per group for a total of 36 participants. Two focus groups were held with patients and family members/caregivers and two with physicians and nurses. A major theme that emerged concerned coping with an advanced lung cancer diagnosis, which is the subject of this paper. The patients, caregivers, and providers spoke passionately about interactions with the health care system and volunteered examples of supportive and non-supportive relationships between patients and clinicians. They advocated for better patient-provider communication practices as well as the expanded use of patient navigation and new patient orientation programs. This study contributes additional knowledge by including the perspectives of caregivers and providers who live and work closely with patients with advanced lung cancer. The findings can inform the development of comprehensive patient-centered care plans for patients living with an advanced lung cancer diagnosis.