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01.06.2015 | Original Article | Ausgabe 6/2015

Supportive Care in Cancer 6/2015

Supportive care needs and preferences of lung cancer patients: a semi-structured qualitative interview study

Supportive Care in Cancer > Ausgabe 6/2015
Natasha M. K. Brown, Chi-Wai Lui, Peter C. Robinson, Frances M. Boyle



Lung cancer patients report both high levels of unmet supportive care need and underutilisation of support services, but the existing literature offers limited understanding of their specific needs and preferences for help. This study aimed to address this research gap through qualitative exploration of the supportive care needs and preferences of lung cancer patients.


Semi-structured interviews were conducted with ten lung cancer patients recruited from the Chest Clinic, Royal Adelaide Hospital (South Australia). Interviews particularly focussed on four key supportive care domains: medical information, physical symptoms, activities of daily living and emotional needs.


Participants reported low use of supportive care services and resources in all four domains. Verbal information from doctors was preferred over printed or online information, and upfront and honest communication was highly valued. Attitude was viewed as important for coping with physical symptoms. Participants demonstrated strong determination to manage activities of daily living independently and, when this was not possible, preferred to seek help from family over external organisations. Support groups and helplines were not utilised for a variety of reasons, although several benefits of connecting with fellow cancer patients were identified.


The reasons behind underutilisation of supportive care services by lung cancer patients are more complex than simple lack of awareness or availability of services. Information about patients’ needs and preferences reveals opportunities for service improvement and alternative models of supportive care.

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