Background: The literature consistently shows that lungcancerpatients experience both greater number of symptoms and concerns about health and existential issues compared with patients from other cancerpopulations and that patientdistress near diagnosis predicts survival in lungcancerpatients. Also evidence suggests that symptom characteristics (e.g. symptom intensity and frequency) influencedistress. The relationship between aspects of patients’ symptom experiences can be complex and the mechanisms underpinning this association are not fully understood at present.
Methods: Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 17 lungcancerpatients and 15 primary caregivers at four time points: at the beginning of treatment and then subsequently at three, six, and twelve months, providing a total of 44 patient and 32 caregiver interviews. Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis was employed in the data analysis.
Findings: The analysis presented here concentrates on two areas which was reported to influencedistress in this population: (1) patients’ perception of symptoms and symptom characteristics and their associated distress; and (2) the relationship between patients’ causal reasoning and their distress.
Conclusion: The complexity of the issues involved in the development of symptom distress needs to be recognised by health care professionals in this poor prognosis group of patients. Better patient preparation about symptoms may alleviate some of the symptom distress in lungcancerpatients.