Association between patient-provider communication and lung cancer stigma

Support Care Cancer. 2016 May;24(5):2093-2099. doi: 10.1007/s00520-015-3014-0. Epub 2015 Nov 9.


Purpose: The majority (95 %) of lung cancer patients report stigma, with 48 % of lung cancer patients specifically reporting feeling stigmatized by their medical providers. Typically associated with the causal link to smoking and the historically poor prognosis, lung cancer stigma can be seen as a risk factor for poor psychosocial and medical outcomes in the context of lung cancer diagnosis and treatment. Thus, modifiable targets for lung cancer stigma-reducing interventions are needed. The present study sought to test the hypothesis that good patient-provider communication is associated with lower levels of lung cancer stigma.

Methods: Lung cancer patients (n = 231) across varying stages of disease participated in a cross-sectional, multisite study designed to understand lung cancer stigma. Patients completed several survey measures, including demographic and clinical characteristics, a measure of patient-provider communication (Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems Program or CAHPS), and a measure of lung cancer stigma (Cataldo Lung Cancer Stigma Scale).

Results: As hypothesized, results indicated that good patient-provider communication was associated with lower levels of lung cancer stigma (r = -0.18, p < 0.05). These results remained significant, even when controlling for relevant demographic and clinical characteristics (Stan. β = -0.15, p < 0.05).

Conclusions: Results indicate that good patient-provider communication is associated with lower levels of lung cancer stigma, suggesting that improving patient-provider communication may be a good intervention target for reducing lung cancer stigma.

Keywords: Lung cancer; Lung cancer stigma; Patient-provider communication.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Attitude to Health
  • Communication*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Health Care Surveys
  • Humans
  • Lung Neoplasms / epidemiology
  • Lung Neoplasms / psychology*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Oncology Service, Hospital / standards*
  • Patient Satisfaction
  • Physician-Patient Relations
  • Quality of Health Care
  • Smoking / psychology*
  • Social Stigma*
  • United States / epidemiology