A recent survey found lung cancer survivors indicate that emotional effects, unlike physical impacts, are more problematic for long-term survivors after 5 years.
Maureen Rigney, a licensed clinical social worker and Director of Support Initiatives for Lung Cancer Alliance (LCA), presented these findings today at the International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer’s (IASLC’s) 19th World Conference on Lung Cancer (WCLC) in Toronto, Canada.
LCA conducted a 122 question, online survey on treatment and smoking histories of the respondents.
Of the 820 participants, 471 self-identified as lung cancer patients or survivors and 349 self-identified as caregivers or loved ones of lung cancer patients or survivors.
Twenty-one percent of survivor respondents indicated they are long-term survivors, diagnosed five or more years prior.
In addition to identifying prevalent side effects experienced during treatment, long-term survivors identified the most problematic effects of lung cancer at five or more years post-diagnosis.
Data showed 74 percent of long-term survivors underwent surgery, 43 percent experienced recurrence of disease and 5 percent participated in a clinical trial.
The most common late and long-term symptoms include shortness of breath (39 percent), fatigue (28 percent), short-term memory (27 percent) and anxiety (25 percent).
The long-term survival rate of those who have been diagnosed with lung cancer continues to increase, calling for additional research to fully understand how to best support this patient population.
“Symptoms like shortness of breath and fatigue are just a few of the physical side effects that can occur during and post treatment. Emotionally, lung cancer stigma and anxiety don’t end when treatment is over,” said Rigney.
“In response to the survey data, Lung Cancer Alliance has designed a webinar series to address the most common and challenging symptoms associated with treatment and beyond. We are committed to helping our patient community throughout each stage of the lung cancer journey.”