A qualitative exploration of a respiratory distress symptom cluster in lung cancer: Cough, breathlessness and fatigue

Alexandros Molasiotis, M. Lowe, F. Blackhall, P. Lorigan

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

68 Citations (Scopus)


There is a growing awareness that symptoms frequently co-occur in 'symptom clusters' and that understanding these clusters may improve the management of unrelieved symptoms in patients. In-depth longitudinal exploration of lung cancer patients' symptom experiences is used to examine patient symptom experiences and distress across the disease trajectory of lung cancer. Methods: Semi-structured interviews were conducted with patients and their primary caregivers at four time points: At the beginning of treatment and then subsequently at three, six, and twelve months. Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis was employed in the data analysis. Findings: Findings indicate that a cluster of interacting respiratory symptoms play a central role in patients' symptom experiences within the lung cancer population. The interviews also suggest that symptoms such as cough which are under-represented in research within this population may play an important role in patients' symptom experiences. Discussion: Longitudinal qualitative investigation offers a valuable method for improving our understanding of patients' experiences of lung cancer and for identifying potential opportunities to improve patient quality of life.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)94-102
Number of pages9
JournalLung Cancer
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis
  • Longitudinal
  • Lung cancer
  • Respiratory symptom cluster
  • Symptom experiences

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
  • Cancer Research

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