Nearly two-thirds of patients with epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) mutation-positive lung cancer do not use palliative care, despite many having a favorable opinion of it, according to the results of a patient-centered survey study presented at the 2020 World Conference on Lung Cancer in Singapore.
The international, quantitative survey collected data from patients with EGFR-positive lung cancer and caregivers. The survey was designed with contributions from patients, caregivers, clinicians, and regulators and includes domains on shared decision-making and perceptions of the healthcare team. The aim of the survey was to understand the needs of members of the EGFR-positive lung cancer community and to give a voice to their concerns.
The study included data from 149 participants, the mean age of whom 55.5 years with 80% of participants being women. Approximately two-thirds (77%) of patients had stage IV lung cancer, and 44.5% had received 1 line of therapy.
Before being presented with a definition of palliative care, patient perceptions were favorable for symptom management (67.3%), palliative care (55.7%), and supportive care (51.6%). After reading the definition of palliative care, these favorable perceptions increased to 71.7% for symptom management, 74.3% for palliative care, and 59.3% for supportive care.
However, 65% of patients reported that they were not using palliative care. Although 60% of patients said they would use palliative care for themselves, a greater number (73%) said they would recommend it to a loved one. Older patients were found to be more likely to have a favorable perception of palliative care compared with younger patients.
Overall, perceptions of the goal of palliative care were similar between patients and their oncologists. Younger patients were more likely to perceive that the goal of therapy was cure compared with older patients (20% vs 5%, respectively; P <.05).
The authors concluded that “there is limited use of palliative care despite awareness of the benefits.”
Elkins I, Figueras A, Kennedy T, et al. Perception of palliative care and prognostic awareness of lung cancer treatment in an oncogene-driven lung cancer community. Presented at: 2020 World Conference on Lung Cancer Singapore; January 28-31, 2020.