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J.L. Studts

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    MA 04 - Advocacy: Listen to the Patients (ID 655)

    • Event: WCLC 2017
    • Type: Mini Oral
    • Track: Patient Advocacy
    • Presentations: 1
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      MA 04.11 - A Comprehensive Vision to Reduce Lung Cancer Stigma: Changing Cultural Perspectives on Lung Cancer (ID 9507)

      11:00 - 12:30  |  Author(s): J.L. Studts

      • Abstract
      • Presentation
      • Slides

      Lung cancer stigma has wide-reaching effects and impacts treatment, quality of life, survival, societal attitudes, research funding, and advocacy efforts. Those affected by lung cancer commonly feel hopeless, isolated, reluctant to share their diagnosis in addition to feelings of guilt, shame, anxiety and depression. Stigma responses can hinder information seeking information related to treatment options and psychosocial support and, tragically, can cause delays in diagnosis and even refusal of treatment. Major pan-cancer organizations, those dedicated to all lung diseases as well as lung cancer-specific organizations conduct awareness raising campaigns designed to confront lung cancer stigma, all working in some measure to create a more compassionate and empathic environment for those at-risk and diagnosed. These efforts have not been coordinated and to date, no known comprehensive vision to address lung cancer stigma in its entirety has been developed.

      HIV/AIDS and mental health advocates have devoted extensive efforts to developing coordinated stigma reduction plans. While not always applicable, their approaches can inform our efforts in lung cancer. To develop a comprehensive framework to address lung cancer stigma, a synthesis of relevant strategies used in other disease-states, a review of lung cancer stigma literature and exploration of the efforts of organizations and individuals from around the world was conducted.

      Awareness-raising, myth-busting and public health advocacy are featured prominently in other stigma-reduction plans. Lung cancer, like HIV/AIDS and other smoking-related cancers, must also address nihilism from medical professionals and work to ensure non-judgmental discussions and compassionate treatment environments that explore appropriate treatment options become the norm. Founded on seven key areas of opportunity, the plan includes multiple areas of impact that need to be addressed. Included are suggested remediation methods and real-world examples from all over the globe to illustrate creative ways lung cancer stigma reduction can be approached. This comprehensive, multi-level, multi-pronged vision allows individuals, systems and organizations to find points of convergence and work collaboratively on addressing the stigma so closely associated with lung cancer.

      Through a comprehensive approach, lung cancer stigma can be reduced and ultimately eliminated. To initiate a global conversation and better unite the lung cancer community, we offer this unifying strategy to address lung cancer stigma. Through the menu of stigma-reduction strategies, we hope to spark conversation, collaboration, and convergence. Dedicated medical professionals, survivors, loved ones, advocacy organizations and others can use the vision to apply appropriate strategies in their regions/countries and work collaboratively toward this all-important goal.

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