Struggling to live with lung cancer

The Global Lung Cancer Coalition (GLCC) presented, at the 16th World Conference on Lung Cancer (WCLC) in Denver, USA, results of Lung Cancer: We’re Listening, a global campaign, supported by Boehringer Ingelheim. The global survey intended to increase knowledge and understanding of real world challenges facing lung cancer patients and their carers. The data showed 64% of lung cancer patients and 55% of carers identified that daily life challenges, such as emotional and social issues, were more significant than medical care challenges such as diagnosis and treatment planning. The findings of the survey highlight the need for a more holistic approach to lung cancer care.

Aoife McNamara, a specialist oncology nurse with the Irish Cancer Society said:

Lung cancer is the world’s biggest cancer killer, sadly the majority of patients are diagnosed at an advanced stage so addressing the medical challenges faced by patients can often be the focus of care. However the Lung Cancer: We’re Listening survey highlighted that challenges related to everyday life were often the biggest burden and as advancements in medical care continue it is paramount that there is an equal emphasis on helping patients cope with the day-to-day struggles of lung cancer. Daily life challenges need to be routinely identified and alleviated to ensure those affected by lung cancer receive the necessary spectrum of support and information to help improve patient’s lives.”

The GLCC and Boehringer Ingelheim collaborated in 2013 to launch Lung Cancer: We’re Listening, a global online survey to identify the priorities and variety of challenges faced by lung cancer patients and their caregivers.  Respondents included 725 patients and carers who identified their most significant challenge related to lung cancer from 200 specific challenges. The specific challenges, which had been identified by GLCC lung cancer experts, were grouped into categories and illustrated with a short text descriptor.

Daily life challenges in the category of ‘emotional and social needs’ were deemed to be the most significant with 19% of respondents affected by challenges such as expressing and sharing feelings, dealing with stigma and developing coping strategies. Medical care challenges in the category of ‘diagnosis’ were the most significant with 20.5% of respondents affected by challenges such as molecular tumour testing, getting a second opinion and misdiagnosis.

More than half of patients and carers indicated their lack of ability to cope with the challenges they face, with 50.8% stating they were either unable to cope or could only cope sometimes; 56.2% of respondents stated they needed information related to the specified challenge and over a quarter (25.5%) needed a lot of help or support from either a professional or caregiver.

Dr Jörg Barth, Corporate Senior Vice President, Therapy Area Head Oncology, Boehringer Ingelheim said, “Boehringer Ingelheim is committed to improving the treatment and the lives of patients who suffer from lung cancer as demonstrated by this important initiative.  We would like to extend our thanks to the GLCC for the Lung Cancer: We’re Listening initiative and are proud to have supported it.   The results deepen our understanding of the importance of supporting lung cancer patients and their carers. We will continue to support the ongoing work of the GLCC to improve the lives of patients with lung cancer, ensuring their needs are at the heart of a holistic approach to care which shifts the current paradigm beyond medical treatment.”

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The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of News Medical.
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