Ana Velázquez Mañana, MD, discusses findings from a study determining survivorship care needs in low-income, older patients with lung cancer.
Ana Velázquez Mañana, MD, assistant professor, medicine, University of California, San Francisco School of Medicine, discusses findings from a study determining survivorship care needs in low-income, older patients with lung cancer.
Velázquez and colleagues are conducting research regarding the unique survivorship care needs of low-income, older adults with early-stage lung cancer. The main impetus for this research was identifying these needs and exploring patients’ preferred supportive care interventions, Velázquez says.
At the 2023 IASLC World Conference on Lung Cancer, Velázquez presented findings from an interim analysis of this study, which included data from 11 patients, 9 of whom spoke English and 2 of whom spoke Spanish. Velázquez notes that data from Asian patients enrolled in the study who spoke Mandarin and Cantonese are currently under evaluation. She also emphasizes that the diversity of the research team conducting this study ensures that the patients under evaluation receive care that accounts for their cultural nuances and needs.
This study found that informational needs were the most prevalent in the evaluable population, Velázquez says. Many of the evaluable English- and Spanish-speaking patients lacked information about their disease, treatment plans, and survivorship period. This included expectations for their plan of care as well as the type and stage of cancer they had.
Another key finding was the lack of coordination and support among the members of patient care teams, which was associated with a lack of adequate patient communication. For instance, many patients did not know their next steps after receiving surveillance scans, which members of their care team to follow up with, who could inform them of their risk of cancer recurrence, and how to improve their lifestyle to decrease this risk, Velázquez explains. Since many patients express interest in learning about steps they can take to live healthier lifestyles and reduce their cancer risk, it is important for them to receive adequate resources that can answer these questions, Velázquez emphasizes.
Investigators also found that older, low-income adults with cancer tend to lack the necessary social support to travel to surveillance and treatment appointments. Furthermore, these patients often have difficulty affording their medications and other aspects of their health care, according to Velázquez. Although barriers to careare expected in the low-income, public hospital population, these disparities should be addressed so patients can access and afford high quality care, Velázquez says.