Barriers to lung cancer care: health professionals’ perspectives

Dunn, J., Garvey, G., Valery, P. C., Ball, D., Fong, K. M., Vinod, S., O'Connell, D. L. and Chambers, S. K. (2016) Barriers to lung cancer care: health professionals’ perspectives. Supportive Care in Cancer, 25 2: 1-8. doi:10.1007/s00520-016-3428-3


Author Dunn, J.
Garvey, G.
Valery, P. C.
Ball, D.
Fong, K. M.
Vinod, S.
O'Connell, D. L.
Chambers, S. K.
Title Barriers to lung cancer care: health professionals’ perspectives
Journal name Supportive Care in Cancer   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1433-7339
0941-4355
Publication date 2016-10-10
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1007/s00520-016-3428-3
Open Access Status Not yet assessed
Volume 25
Issue 2
Start page 1
End page 8
Total pages 8
Place of publication Heidelberg, Germany
Publisher Springer
Language eng
Abstract Globally, lung cancer is the most common cancer and the leading cause of cancer death. Problematically, there is a wide variation in the management and survival for people with lung cancer and there is limited understanding of the reasons for these variations. To date, the views of health professionals across relevant disciplines who deliver such care are largely absent. The present study describes Australian health professionals' views about barriers to lung cancer care to help build a research and action agenda for improving lung cancer outcomes.

Qualitative semi-structured interviews were undertaken with a multidisciplinary group of 31 Australian health professionals working in lung cancer care for an average of 16 years (range 1-35 yrs.; SD = 10.2) seeing a mean of 116 patients annually.

Three superordinate themes were identified: illness representations, cultural influences, and health system context. Illness representations included three themes: symptoms attributed as smoking-related but not cancer, health-related stigma, and therapeutic nihilism. Cultural influence themes included Indigenous health care preferences, language and communication, and sociodemographic factors. Health system context included lack of regional services and distance to treatment, poor care coordination, lack of effective screening methods, and health professional behaviours.

Fractured and locally isolated approaches routinely confound responses to the social, cultural and health system complexities that surround a diagnosis of lung cancer and subsequent treatment. Improving outcomes for this disadvantaged patient group will require government, health agencies, and the community to take an aggressive, integrated approach balancing health policy, treatment priorities, and societal values.
Formatted abstract
Purpose: Globally, lung cancer is the most common cancer and the leading cause of cancer death. Problematically, there is a wide variation in the management and survival for people with lung cancer and there is limited understanding of the reasons for these variations. To date, the views of health professionals across relevant disciplines who deliver such care are largely absent. The present study describes Australian health professionals’ views about barriers to lung cancer care to help build a research and action agenda for improving lung cancer outcomes.

Methods: Qualitative semi-structured interviews were undertaken with a multidisciplinary group of 31 Australian health professionals working in lung cancer care for an average of 16 years (range 1–35 yrs.; SD = 10.2) seeing a mean of 116 patients annually.

Results: Three superordinate themes were identified: illness representations, cultural influences, and health system context. Illness representations included three themes: symptoms attributed as smoking-related but not cancer, health-related stigma, and therapeutic nihilism. Cultural influence themes included Indigenous health care preferences, language and communication, and sociodemographic factors. Health system context included lack of regional services and distance to treatment, poor care coordination, lack of effective screening methods, and health professional behaviours.

Conclusions: Fractured and locally isolated approaches routinely confound responses to the social, cultural and health system complexities that surround a diagnosis of lung cancer and subsequent treatment. Improving outcomes for this disadvantaged patient group will require government, health agencies, and the community to take an aggressive, integrated approach balancing health policy, treatment priorities, and societal values.
Keyword Health professionals’ attitudes
Lung cancer
Nihilism
Stigma
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Provisional Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
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