JOURNAL ARTICLE

Treatment burden experienced by patients with lung cancer

Nicole El-Turk, Michael S H Chou, Natasha C H Ting, Afaf Girgis, Shalini K Vinod, Victoria Bray, Claudia C Dobler
PloS One 2021, 16 (1): e0245492
33481895

INTRODUCTION: Patients' burden from lung cancer treatment is not well researched, but this understanding can facilitate a patient-centred treatment approach. Current models of treatment burden suggest it is influenced by a patient's perception of their disease and treatment and their capacity to do the work required to treat their disease.

METHODS: Sixteen patients and 1 carer who were undergoing or had completed conventional or stereotactic ablative radiotherapy, chemotherapy or immunotherapy for lung cancer in the last 6 months participated in a semi-structured interview. A treatment burden framework was used with three main themes: a) treatment work, b) consequences of treatment and c) psychosocial factors affecting treatment burden.

RESULTS: The majority of patients did not feel unduly burdened by treatment tasks, despite having a large treatment-associated workload. Many saw treatment as a priority, causing them to restructure their life to accommodate for it. Patients wished that they would have been better informed about the lifestyle changes that they would have to make before treatment for lung cancer commenced and that the health service would provide services to assist them with this task.

DISCUSSION: While there was a large burden associated with lung cancer treatment, patients felt motivated and equipped to manage the workload because the disease was considered severe and life-threatening, and the treatment was seen as beneficial. Before initiating treatment for lung cancer, patients should be informed about lifestyle changes they likely have to make and should be offered assistance.

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