Lung cancer is the second-most common cancer diagnosed in the US, yet little survivorship research has been conducted with this population. The proportion of lung cancer survivors diagnosed with early stage disease, whose 5-year survival exceeds 50%, is likely to increase with the uptake of lung cancer screening in the US. Lung cancer survivors frequently report more medical and psychosocial concerns and worse health-related quality of life compared to survivors of other cancers, yet we know little about how these concerns are addressed during the two years after initial treatment or what sort of survivorship care planning early stage lung cancer (ESLC) patients experience or desire. The proposed mixed-methods study will focus on an understudied, but growing population, ESLC survivors, and gather novel data on their follow-up care transition experiences and needs. This study will recruit patients diagnosed with localized lung cancer who have completed primary treatment within the past 3-24 months through our institutional cancer registry, provider referral and community organizations.
Aim 1 (qualitative) will use semi-structured interviews (n=15-20) to explore ESLC survivors'experiences in the two years after initial treatment, focusing on their health needs, communication with treatment team, and psychosocial concerns. Data from Aim 1 will be used to develop a survey to address Aim 2 (quantitative) that optimally reflects patient perspectives.
For Aim 2, we will document ESLC survivors'(n=70) reports of a) experienced and desired follow-up care communication, including discussions with providers and written care plans, b) current health-related information and supportive care needs, and c) persistent symptoms and quality of life after primary lung cancer treatment completion. It is expected that a majority of participants will report having some discussion with their provider(s) about follow-up care, yet a majority will report wanting a written care plan and more communication with their provider than what they experienced. It is also expected that a majority of participants (>50%) will identify at least one unmet health-related or supportive care need, and that health-related quality of life will be lower in ESLC survivors after primary treatment completion compared to established general cancer patient norms. The results of this study will provide preliminary data to develop a survivorship care planning intervention that meets the needs of ESLC patients. Future applications will examine the impact of care planning interventions, as well as targeted symptom-focused interventions, specifically for the growing population of ESLC patients.

Public Health Relevance

Lung cancer is the second-most common cancer diagnosed in the US, yet we know very little about the needs of early stage lung cancer patients as they transition from primary treatment into follow-up care. This study will provide crucial data from the patient perspective to inform future interventions for early stage lung cancer patients, who are a growing population of cancer survivors, and will lead to improvements in the delivery of survivorship care planning services for these survivors.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Cancer Institute (NCI)
Small Research Grants (R03)
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Special Emphasis Panel (ZCA1-SRLB-B (O1))
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Parry, Carla
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Wake Forest University Health Sciences
Public Health & Prev Medicine
Schools of Medicine
United States
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