Molassiotis, Alex, Lowe, Matthew, Blackhall, F. and Lorigan, P.
A qualitative exploration of a respiratory distress symptom cluster in lung cancer: cough, breathlessness and fatigue.
Lung Cancer, 71
There is a growing awareness that symptoms frequently co-occur in ‘symptom clusters’ and that understanding these clusters may improve the management of unrelieved symptoms in patients. In-depth longitudinal exploration of lung cancer patients’ symptom experiences is used to examine patient symptom experiences and distress across the disease trajectory of lung cancer.
Methods Semi-structured interviews were conducted with patients and their primary caregivers at four time points: At the beginning of treatment and then subsequently at three, six, and twelve months. Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis was employed in the data analysis.
Findings Findings indicate that a cluster of interacting respiratory symptoms play a central role in patients’ symptom experiences within the lung cancer population. The interviews also suggest that symptoms such as cough which are under-represented in research within this population may play an important role in patients’ symptom experiences.
Discussion Longitudinal qualitative investigation offers a valuable method for improving our understanding of patients’ experiences of lung cancer and for identifying potential opportunities to improve patient quality of life.