Assessing the Impact of Managing Lung Cancer

By Robert Dillard - Last Updated: January 4, 2021

A study published in BMC Psychology explored sex-related characteristics, as well as the psychological and economic impact of managing non-small cell lung cancer (mNSCLC), with respect to both patients and caregivers.

In this exploratory study, researchers queried two cohorts comprised of 333 patients starting first-line treatment for mNSCLC. The questionnaires included: APGAR, relationship impact scale, DUKE-UNC scale, economic impact in patients and caregiver, and Zarit scale. They were administered at baseline, at four months, and following the first and second disease progression. The researchers used Kaplan-Meier methodology, and Cox analyses to assess the data.

The results of the questionnaires showed that most families continued being functional despite lung cancer diagnosis. The researchers observed that sex was not a factor in perceived changes in partner relations, and most patients reported that their social support was normal.

Regardless of sex, they did not perceive changes in their partner relationship. However, independent of sex, almost a quarter of patients reported a worsening in their economic situation following lunger cancer diagnosis, and results showed statistically significant differences between two groups pertaining to the caregiver’s relationship to the patient. Parents tended to be caregivers for females more than males, and most employed caregivers were female.  Overall, the researchers noted that most caregivers of both sexes reported that taking care of their relative did not pose a significant burden.

“This study provides a preliminary insight into sex-related characteristics in the management of advanced NSCLC and its impact on the emotional, social and economic burden of patients and their caregivers, and recall the high priority of researching in cancer from a sex perspective,” the researchers wrote in conclusion.

They added that “due to the low recruitment rate and the relevant loss of patients during the follow-up, it was difficult to find differences by sex.”