The clinical care of patients with lung cancer
: identifying and supporting those with unmet care needs

  • Deans Buchanan

    Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Medicine


    Lung cancer has developed from a rare condition into the leading cause of cancerrelated death in the United Kingdom. Lung cancer patients face a disease with a high symptom burden, increased psychosocial needs and a high mortality. Supportive care needs are often relevant from diagnosis. Despite this there are no clear follow-up structures for lung cancer patients that address both cancer management and supportive care. The aims of this study were to evaluate supportive care needs, assess predictors of such needs and identify factors which could aid service provision within Stobhill lung cancer services. Methods Supportive care needs were measured using an adapted Palliative Outcome Scale (POS), incorporated within a larger questionnaire. All lung cancer patients attending the clinic could complete this questionnaire. Respiratory symptoms, performance status, service usage, preferences and satisfaction were also assessed. Data were stratified to allow evaluation of three clinical groupings: all patients, newly diagnosed patients and patients in the last three months of life. Analyses were phased: descriptive analyses, univariate tests of association and multivariate regression. Results Three hundred and fifty three lung cancer patients completed questionnaires. The high symptom burden in lung cancer was confirmed. Anxiety, pain and dyspnoea were identified as the key issues. Poor performance status was identified to be an independent predictor of increased POS score, increased anxiety, increased pain and increased dyspnoea. There was no independent relationship between POS and survival. Although the majority of patients were satisfied with the care received, there was uncertainty regarding who was in charge of care and some disparity in preferred structure for follow-up. Conclusions Despite recent advances in lung cancer management, improvements are still required to address unmet supportive care needs of patients. Particular attention should be given to those with poorer performance status to effectively identify and meet such needs.
    Date of Award2010
    Original languageEnglish
    SupervisorPamela Levack (Supervisor), Robert Milroy (Supervisor) & Alastair Thompson (Supervisor)


    • Lung cancer
    • Supportive care
    • Symptoms

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