Lung Cancer Patient and Caregiver Health Vulnerabilities and Interest in Health Promotion Interventions: An Exploratory Study

Glob Adv Health Med. 2019 Jul 17;8:2164956119865160. doi: 10.1177/2164956119865160. eCollection 2019.


Introduction: Lung cancer patients and their caregivers are at risk for negative health behaviors and poor psychosocial functioning, but few interventions exist that target this population. To inform intervention development, we explored potential targets and interest and concordance in health promotion interventions among lung cancer patients and their caregivers.

Methods: Lung cancer patients (n = 18) with a smoking history and their caregivers (n = 15) participated in a cross-sectional, observational survey study (an average of 1 month postdiagnosis) to assess health behaviors, psychosocial functioning, and interest in health promotion interventions. Fisher's exact and Wilcoxon rank-sum tests examined factors associated with intervention interest. McNemar's test examined concordance in interest.

Results: Many caregivers (40%) reported providing care at least 4 days per week, and over half (53.3%) reported a smoking history. Patients reported high cancer self-blame (mean = 3.1, standard deviation = 0.9, range = 1-4). Patients (55.6%) and caregivers (60%) reported clinically significant depressive symptoms. There was high interest and concordance in interest in cancer education (patients, 77.8%; caregivers, 86.7%) and diet and exercise (patients, 66.7%; caregivers, 80%) interventions. Significantly more caregivers were interested in stress reduction (patients, 53.3%; caregivers, 73.3%; P = .05) and yoga (patients, 16.7%; caregivers, 50%; P = .03) than patients. Caregivers interested in stress reduction interventions had higher levels of distress than those not interested.

Discussion: Health promotion interventions are needed and of interest to lung cancer patients and caregivers. Shared interests in interventions suggest dyadic interventions may be appropriate, yet interventions should also address distinct patient and caregiver needs.

Keywords: caregivers; dyad; health promotion; intervention; lung cancer; stigma.