Assessing patient perception and preferences for outcomes in lung cancer resection surgery: a cross-sectional study

J Thorac Dis. 2024 Jun 30;16(6):3844-3853. doi: 10.21037/jtd-23-1800. Epub 2024 Jun 19.


Background: Surgical resection is the primary treatment for early-stage lung cancer, but little is known about the outcomes that truly matter to patients. This aim of our study was to identify the aspects of postoperative outcomes that matter most to patients undergoing lung cancer surgery and explore the influence of clinical and demographic factors on their importance ratings.

Methods: We performed a cross-sectional study of patients undergoing lung resection for non-small cell lung cancer at our institution from November 2021 to May 2022. Patients were surveyed using a self-developed questionnaire and the European Organisation for Research and Treatment of Cancer core health-related quality of life questionnaire (EORTC QLQ-C30) prior to surgery. Ordinal logistic regression was performed to determine associations between individual patient factors and outcome importance ratings.

Results: Forty patients completed the survey during the study period. Patients prioritized oncologic outcomes, with 95% rating R0 resection and cancer recurrence as "very important". Other important factors included overall survival (90%), postoperative complications (e.g., myocardial infarction: 92.5%, infection: 87.5%), and the need for reoperation (82.5%). Health-related quality of life factors, such as chronic pain (77.5%) and the ability to return to normal physical and exercise levels (75%), were also highly valued. Certain patient clinical and demographic factors demonstrated significant associations with importance placed on certain outcomes. Preoperative health-related quality of life scores did not influence outcome importance ratings.

Conclusions: This study provides insights into the outcomes that matter most to patients undergoing lung cancer surgery. Oncologic outcomes and postoperative complications were prioritized, while scar-related factors were less important. Patient preferences varied based on demographic and clinical factors. Understanding these preferences can enhance shared decision-making and improve patient-centered care in thoracic surgical oncology.

Keywords: Lung cancer surgery; health-related quality of life; outcome preferences; patient perception; shared decision-making.