Having a positive relationship with the doctor who primarily treats your lung cancer is critical to achieving positive outcomes. MyLungCancerTeam conducted a survey to better understand members’ relationships with their care team, including what’s working and where there are challenges.
The survey, conducted in December 2021, included 117 members in the United States who are living with lung cancer.
They were asked questions about their:
MyLungCancerTeam shares these survey results with members of the community so they can learn from one another’s experiences. To ensure that doctors and pharmaceutical companies hear members’ voices, we also shared the findings of the survey at the International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer World Conference on Lung Cancer in August 2022.
Three-fourths of MyLungCancerTeam members overall reported being satisfied with their care team (77 percent). Just over half — 55 percent — were very satisfied.
There were a number of specific factors that set doctors apart for the “very satisfied” group. In general, these doctors:
People living with lung cancer sometimes experience emotional challenges associated with their diagnosis. Thus, it’s not surprising that doctors with whom members are most satisfied take the time to understand how members are managing and to address the emotional toll of their diagnoses and corresponding treatments. As one satisfied member wrote, “I love him [my oncologist] to death, also never feel rushed when I talk to him.”
On the other hand, one of the members who was dissatisfied commented: “I’m unhappy with my oncologist for a variety of reasons. The most annoying trait is not answering specific questions about my treatment.”
Survey respondents who are very satisfied with their care team like that their providers explain things clearly and show concern for their questions and opinions. Among very satisfied survey respondents, 84 percent said their doctor “makes me feel that they care about my concerns and preferences.” Only 23 percent of the respondents who were neutral or dissatisfied agreed with that statement.
Eighty-three percent of very satisfied respondents agreed that their their provider “listens to me and understands my specific needs,” whereas only 19 percent of neutral or dissatisfied respondents agreed with that statement.
The survey also revealed that many members may not be aware of biomarker testing. Forty-two percent said they either didn’t know what biomarker testing was or if they haven’t had a biomarker test. Only 29 percent of respondents have either had biomarker testing or are scheduled to receive it.
In treating lung cancer — especially non-small cell lung cancer — doctors can use biomarkers to help establish more individualized treatment plans. If a person’s tumor has certain mutations (genetic errors) or makes a specific protein, they may be treated with a more specialized medicine that can target those biomarkers.
MyLungCancerTeam is the social network for people with lung cancer and their loved ones. On MyLungCancerTeam, more than 7,100 members come together to ask questions, give advice, and share their stories with others who understand life with lung cancer.
How do you feel about your relationship with your lung cancer doctor and care team? What do you recommend to others who might be struggling to communicate with their doctors? Share your thoughts in a comment below or in your Activities feed.