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Megan Shen

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    MA22 - Partnering with Patients to Understand Stigma, Disparities and Values Leading to Improved Lung Cancer Care (ID 154)

    • Event: WCLC 2019
    • Type: Mini Oral Session
    • Track: Advocacy
    • Presentations: 1
    • Now Available
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      MA22.11 - An Empathic Communication Skills Training Module to Reduce Lung Cancer Stigma in Patients with Lung Cancer: Pilot Results   (Now Available) (ID 1725)

      15:45 - 17:15  |  Author(s): Megan Shen

      • Abstract
      • Presentation
      • Slides


      Most patients diagnosed with lung cancer report experiencing stigma, with 48% reporting stigma attributable to interactions with health care clinicians. Lung cancer stigma may result in multiple negative psychological outcomes such as misreporting and underreporting of symptoms and smoking behaviors and avoidance of help-seeking. One promising intervention strategy for reducing patients’ experiences of lung cancer stigma is improving empathic communication in lung cancer patient-clinician interactions. This abstract describes the conceptual model, development, and preliminary evaluation of a clinician-targeted empathic communication skills training to reduce lung patient’s experience of stigma.


      The goal of this new training module was to enhance responsiveness to lung cancer patients’ expression of stigma and psychological distress focusing on greater use of seven communication strategies: agenda setting, history taking, recognizing or eliciting a patient’s empathic opportunity, shared understanding of the patient’s emotion/experience, empathic responding, coping and connection to social support, and closing the conversation. Participating cancer care clinicians learned specific communication skills such as providing a rationale for tobacco use discussion, normalizing, acknowledging, preparing patients for recurring smoking questions, and encouraging expression of feelings. The 2-hour training module was delivered to thoracic oncology clinicians (physicians, advanced practice clinicians) (n=28) using a brief didactic presentation (30 min) with exemplary video demonstrations, followed by experiential role play exercises (90 min) with standardized patients.


      We examined preliminary efficacy of the empathic communication module by assessing participant evaluation of the training and their perceived self-efficacy before and after the training. Overall, participating clinicians reported favorable evaluations of the training, with 93% participants agreeing or strongly agreeing to all 12 training module evaluation items. Of note, perceived self-efficacy to communicate empathically with lung cancer patients increased significantly, t(27)=-4.42, p<.001 from pre- (M=3.64,SD=.68) to post-training (M=4.36,SD=.49).


      Overall, results indicate that the new empathic communication skills training module was well received by thoracic oncology care clinicians and demonstrated significant improvements in self-efficacy from pre- to post-training. Examination of patient outcomes is needed.

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