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Evaluating lung cancer patient experience

Research aim

To improve the care and support for those affected by lung cancer.

Research aim

Background

Lung cancer is the most common cause of all cancer deaths in the UK. Yet, the uptake of anti-cancer treatment is not as high as it could be for those who might benefit.

The level to which patient interaction with healthcare professionals along their cancer journey has an influence on their decisions and health outcomes remains unclear.

To further improve quality of life, it is important that patient experiences of healthcare pathways are evaluated relative to their lung cancer treatment and outcomes. However, to date, such experiences are limited to small investigations lacking details of patient and service features.

There is a gap in understanding the patient’s own role in their cancer pathway. For example, we will have evidence of any instances where patients may have been eligible for surgery but did not receive it because they were not as involved or informed as they could have been. We expect this project to fill this evidence gap.

Dr. Tata and Dr. Stewart, University of Nottingham

What is the problem to be addressed?

Almost 70% of people with newly diagnosed lung cancer will die within that year, with reported treatment rates and survival in the UK being poor compared with other European countries.

Contact with specialist doctors and nurse can increase the chance of receiving the best treatment options, but there is a gap in our understanding of how someone’s experience of healthcare professionals within different settings during their lung cancer journey can influence decisions for anti-cancer treatment. Such decisions have an impact on health outcomes, including survival.

There is very limited knowledge of how lung cancer patients’ experiences of their own healthcare can affect their actual health outcomes, which is fundamental in ensuring evidence-based, patient-centred care to drive improvements in wellbeing and long-term health.

Expected findings and potential impact

This will be the first study worldwide to focus on a high level of detailed patient experiences and how they are related to actual outcomes in lung cancer using a large national sample.

At the moment, research has shown us that the way healthcare professionals (such as lung cancer nurse specialists) work can affect whether patients get certain treatments and have better or worse health outcomes. However, we have a gap in understanding the patient’s own role in their cancer pathway. We expect this project to fill this evidence gap.

We will be able to detect areas of best practice to share with patients and the healthcare community. We also expect this to lead to specific recommendations as to where cancer services can improve in order to provide optimal and fair care to all patient groups, such as identifying opportunities of where to focus training of healthcare workers on communication and engagement with patients to ensure they receive the care that is best for them.

For example, we will have evidence of any instances where patients may have been eligible for surgery but did not receive it because they were not as involved or informed as they could have been.

We expect our findings to be incorporated into best practice guidelines recommended by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) on the management of lung cancer.

The findings will underpin evidence-based changes towards a healthcare service that strives to put patients at the centre, and will act as a crucial example of where focus on specific patient experiences within real contexts can be applied in settings beyond lung cancer to drive improvement.

Lead researchers: Dr. Laila J. Tata and Dr. Iain D. Stewart | Location: University of Nottingham | Type of research: Patient experience