A longitudinal qualitative analysis of the factors that influence patient distress within the lung cancer population

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

34 Citations (Scopus)


Background: The literature consistently shows that lung cancer patients experience both greater number of symptoms and concerns about health and existential issues compared with patients from other cancer populations and that patient distress near diagnosis predicts survival in lung cancer patients. Also evidence suggests that symptom characteristics (e.g. symptom intensity and frequency) influence distress. The relationship between aspects of patients' symptom experiences can be complex and the mechanisms underpinning this association are not fully understood at present. Methods: Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 17 lung cancer patients and 15 primary caregivers at four time points: at the beginning of treatment and then subsequently at three, six, and twelve months, providing a total of 44 patient and 32 caregiver interviews. Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis was employed in the data analysis. Findings: The analysis presented here concentrates on two areas which was reported to influence distress in this population: (1) patients' perception of symptoms and symptom characteristics and their associated distress; and (2) the relationship between patients' causal reasoning and their distress. Conclusion: The complexity of the issues involved in the development of symptom distress needs to be recognised by health care professionals in this poor prognosis group of patients. Better patient preparation about symptoms may alleviate some of the symptom distress in lung cancer patients.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)344-348
Number of pages5
JournalLung Cancer
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • Caregivers
  • Lung cancer
  • Symptom distress
  • Symptom experience

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
  • Cancer Research


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