The voice of postsurgical lung cancer patients regarding supportive care needs

Amy J. Hoffman, Ruth Ann Brintnall, Alexander von Eye, Julie Cooper, Jean K. Brown

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Objective: Individuals with lung cancer present with multiple comorbid conditions and complex treatment plans. They are frequently vulnerable during critical transitions in the cancer survivorship trajectory. Limited research exists on the postsurgical non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC) population, relative to unmet supportive care needs. However, what is known is that the lung cancer population reports significantly more unmet supportive care needs than other cancer populations. The purpose of this study was to identify the postsurgical NSCLC patients' unmet supportive care needs during transition from hospital to home and through recovery after participating in a 16-week exercise intervention. Materials and methods: Participants were 53-73 years of age with NSCLC (stage Ib-IIIa) and participated in a 16-week light-intensity exercise program after hospital discharge. For this study, participants were interviewed 12-18 months post-thoracotomy. A qualitative design was used, incorporating a semistructured guide with open-ended questions to support discussion regarding recovery experiences through 16 weeks after transitioning from hospital to home. The interview was transcribed verbatim, and data were analyzed using content analysis. Content themes were independently coded by investigators and later combined into a single report verified through participant verification of the report. Results: Participants reviewed and agreed with the focus group report. Dominant themes included: 1) unpreparedness for post-thoracotomy recovery; 2) significant unmet needs upon hospital discharge and throughout the cancer survivorship trajectory; 3) unexpected symptom burden after initial month of recovery; 4) the quality of information given when pain and fatigue were troublesome during recovery; and 5) the effectiveness of exercise during the recovery process. Conclusion: Understanding the changing needs of this population during these transitions will assist in the development of targeted supportive care interventions, to preempt negative outcomes associated with breakdowns in care during critical transition periods of the cancer survivorship trajectory.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)21-31
Number of pages11
JournalLung Cancer: Targets and Therapy
StatePublished - 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Exercise
  • Qualitative research
  • Quality of life
  • Symptom

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology


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