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Lung Cancer Survivors Have Unmet Needs

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http://lungcancer.about.com/b/2009/05/1 ... -needs.htm


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We know that many lung cancer survivors have unmet needs. Cancer can be very lonely, and the stigma of lung cancer only worsens that feeling. Thankfully, a recent study looking at these unmet needs gives us some direction -- so we can address these needs for our loved ones with lung cancer. I was not surprised at all, that a lack of energy and tiredness was ranked as the most common unmet need. Cancer fatigue is something only those living with cancer can truly comprehend. But some needs, such as a desire to know more about exercising with cancer, are less obvious.

This lack of support and unmet needs is more than depressing. Those individuals who experienced unmet needs had worse physical functioning, were more bothered by the symptoms of lung cancer, were less satisfied with their health care, and dwelled more on their diagnosis of cancer.

What did lung cancer survivors wish for?

61% said they were interested in receiving more information about their disease and treatment

54% expressed interest in exercise-related information and support

Almost 46% hoped for assistance in dealing with cancer related fatigue

So what can caregivers do?

As caregivers, this study details some fairly easy ways we can help our loved ones with lung cancer. Some of this may seem obvious, but just yesterday a friend shared with me how his father (who has stage 4 cancer) was given inaccurate information (not by his oncologist) about exercise. Instead of hearing about studies showing that moderate exercise improves quality of life and may even improve survival, he was told he shouldn't exercise with cancer. And he wanted to exercise! A few tips:

Learn what you can about your loved ones disease and treatment options. Write a list of questions to ask their doctor.

Share information on the role of exercise during lung cancer treatment with your loved one, and think of ways that he can exercise within the limits imposed by his lung cancer. Perhaps offer to take a leisurely walk with him, or help with a garden. If your loved one needs some motivational tips for exercising, or if you have tips yourself, check out our forum on exercising with lung cancer.

Talk about ways to deal with cancer-related fatigue Are there chores your loved one can delegate to others? Is she getting periods of rest during the day? Is there someone who could prepare meals and deliver them periodically?

Most importantly, ask your loved one regularly if she has any needs she is not expressing. Many people with cancer fear that they are being a burden. Give them permission and encourage them to ask for help when needed.

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(Lung Cancer Blog, By Lynne Eldridge MD, May 13, 2009)


The information contained in these articles may or may not be in agreement with my own opinions. They are not being posted with the intention of being medical advice of any kind.

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