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(BPT) - Nearly a quarter of a million Americans will be diagnosed with lung cancer this year, according to the American Cancer Society.1 The number of those impacted by lung cancer is greatly expanded, as prior research has shown that learning a loved one has cancer can have a significant impact on family members.2
A new national survey of 100 caregivers for people living with lung cancer reveals support, resources and information are top needs for caregivers. Navigate Lung Cancer, developed by Bristol-Myers Squibb Company and key members of the lung cancer community, is an online resource designed with the needs of both people diagnosed with lung cancer and their loved ones in mind.
Ninety-two percent of caregivers find their roles to be highly demanding and an equal percentage say their role is highly rewarding, according to the national survey of 100 caregivers conducted on behalf of Bristol-Myers Squibb and endorsed by CURE magazine, the largest consumer publication in the United States focused entirely on cancer.3
“The role of caregivers often comes with a mixture of emotions, physical challenges and new complexities in decision making,” says Linda House, President, Cancer Support Community. "The results of this new, national survey highlight that it is just as important to provide help, support and care to caregivers as it is to those diagnosed with lung cancer,” she says.
Caregivers dedicate hours of help to their loved one with cancer, managing tasks that can range from household chores to providing transportation to and from doctor appointments to managing medications and finances, all in addition to providing emotional support. Nearly 97 percent of caregivers have had to change their lifestyle because of their loved one’s cancer.3
Sacrifices caregivers make include: spending less time on their own medical care (27 percent), accepting fewer social engagements (62 percent), limiting the number of hours they spend outside the home (52 percent) and spending less time with friends and family (49 percent). In fact, 10 percent have quit their jobs to care full-time for a loved one with lung cancer, the survey found.3
Moreover, the role of the caregiver generally extends beyond providing care in the home to serving as an advocate for their loved one during medical appointments to help ask questions, listen to and process information, and, in many cases, help their loved one make decisions about care. In this role, caregivers may not only be unsure of what to do, but also of which questions to ask healthcare providers or where to turn if they need guidance and help. In fact, 68 percent of surveyed caregivers struggle with knowing the right questions to ask their loved one’s medical team.3
While more than nine in ten respondents (94 percent) report that they play an active role in seeking out information about their loved one’s diagnosis and treatment, resources and support can be disparate and hard to find.3 In fact, 89 percent believe finding the right information about lung cancer can be overwhelming.3 Moreover, 91 percent wish all lung cancer resources/information were in one place.3
“Online support websites, like Navigate Lung Cancer, that offer content developed for caregivers and family members can be particularly helpful,” says Kathy LaTour, co-founder of CURE magazine and cancer survivor. “They can find the information, guidance, advice and support they need all in one place — whenever it’s most convenient for them to access the information.”
Bristol-Myers Squibb developed Navigate Lung Cancer in partnership with the Bonnie J. Addario Lung Cancer Foundation, Cancer Research Institute, Cancer Support Community, CancerCare, Free to Breathe, Lung Cancer Alliance, Lung Cancer Foundation of America and LUNGevity. The website provides comprehensive education and resources for people with lung cancer, their caregivers, loved ones, and oncology nurses.
Additionally, caregivers and people with lung cancer will find advice on how to build their own personal support teams and work with health care teams. Practical day-to-day information, such as the value of journaling to aid caregivers in monitoring their own well-being as well as their loved one’s health, can help families affected by lung cancer cope with the ongoing challenges that can accompany a lung cancer diagnosis. Visit www.NavigateLungCancer.org for more information on the latest tools and resources.
1. American Cancer Society. “Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer.” May 16, 2016. http://www.cancer.org/cancer/lungcancernonsmallcell/detailedguide/nonsmallcelllungcancerkeystatistics
2. Journal of Oncology Practice. Physical, Psychosocial, Relationship, and Economic Burden of Caring for People with Cancer: A Review. A. Girgis, et. al. 2013. Available at: http://jop.ascopubs.org/content/9/4/197.full
3. Bristol-Myers Squibb. U.S. Lung Cancer Caregivers Data Report. August 31, 2016 – September 16, 2016.