Supportive Care in Cancer

, Volume 16, Issue 3, pp 251–259 | Cite as

Why patients with lung cancer do not want help with some needs

Original Article



The purpose of this exploratory study was to understand what motivates patients to ask or not ask for assistance when they have expressed need in specific areas.

Materials and methods

A qualitative approach was used to explore the desire for assistance of patients with lung cancer who attended a regional cancer centre. The research questions were: (1) Why do patients with lung cancer not desire help for certain areas of need?; (2) What resources currently exist outside the cancer centre that patients with lung cancer use to help meet their needs?; and (3) What resources (internal and external to the cancer centre) would be helpful for patients with lung cancer? Fifty-nine patients participated in this study by completing a self-report questionnaire; 34 of these patients were then interviewed using a semi-structured interview guide.

Main results

The data indicated varied reasons for not asking for help, such as believing that staff were too busy or the problem would go away over time. Participants identified a number of outside resources they currently used and gave suggestions about needed resources within the cancer centre and in the community.


Patients with lung cancer may have a number of supportive care concerns, but they do not always ask for help with those issues. Some patients may be unaware of possible help, and others may not want help from professionals. Supportive care needs must be identified quickly and effectively so that appropriate interventions can be offered to those who want them.


Lung cancer Identified needs Desire for assistance 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Nursing, Rm. 342 HNES Building, Faculty of HealthYork UniversityTorontoCanada
  2. 2.Oncology Nursing and Supportive CareToronto-Sunnybrook Regional Cancer CentreTorontoCanada

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