Good patient-provider communication is associated with lower levels of lung cancer stigma, a new study published online ahead of print in the journal Supportive Care in Cancer has shown.1

Because the vast majority of patients with lung cancer report stigma associated with their disease, and nearly half of patients report feeling stigmatized by their health care providers, researchers sought to evaluate whether good patient-provider communication would reduce lung cancer stigma.

“Typically associated with the causal link to smoking and the historically poor prognosis, lung cancer stigma can be seen as a risk factor for poor psychosocial and medical outcomes in the context of lung cancer diagnosis and treatment,” the authors write.

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For the study, researchers enrolled 231 patients with lung cancer with varying stages of disease to complete a survey that assessed demographic and clinical characteristics, as well as patient-provider communication, and feelings of lung cancer stigma.

Results showed that good patient-provider communication was associated with lower levels of lung cancer stigma (P<.05), which remained significant after controlling for confounding demographic and clinical characteristics.

The findings suggest “that improving patient-provider communication may be a good intervention target for reducing lung cancer stigma,” the authors conclude.


1. Johnson Shen M, Hamann HA, Thomas AJ, Ostroff JS. Association between patient-provider communication and lung cancer stigma [published online ahead of print November 9, 2015]. Support Care Cancer. doi:10.1007/s00520-0150-3014-0.