Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the United States, causing more deaths than colorectal, breast, and prostate cancers combined.1 Timely diagnosis and treatment of lung cancer is critical because delays can lead to missed opportunities for both curative and life-prolonging therapies.2 Despite the high mortality rates and poor survival outcomes associated with a lung cancer diagnosis, the next generation of targeted therapies and the emergence of immune checkpoint inhibitors have demonstrated durable long-term survival in subsets of patients. As such, these therapies may hold the key in improving lung cancer patient outcomes leading to curable lung cancer among early-stage diagnoses and a chronic and manageable disease for patients with advanced and metastatic disease.3 Patients with a confirmed or suspected diagnosis of cancer require timely information, a patient-centered approach to their care and good coordination of care to optimize their health outcomes.
Some hospitalists will encounter patients who are admitted to the hospital for an illness like pneumonia that is suspected to be or confirmed to be lung cancer. Patients with a suspected or confirmed diagnosis of lung cancer require timely information, a patient-centered approach to their care, and good coordination of care to optimize their health outcomes. SHM has developed a suite of resources to support the hospitalist and other hospital clinicians with best practices and evidence-based strategies for conducting patient-centered discussions with these patients and facilitating good coordination of care.
1 American Cancer Society. Cancer facts & figures 2021. Atlanta: American Cancer Society; 2021. https://www.cancer.org/content/dam/cancer-org/research/cancer-facts-and-statistics/annual-cancer-facts-and-figures/2021/cancer-facts-and-figures-2021.pdf Accessed May 12, 2021
2 Vidaver RM, Shershneva MB, Hetzel SJ, Holden TR, Campbell TC. Typical Time to Treatment of Patients with Lung Cancer in a Multisite, US-Based Study. J Oncol Pract. 2016 Jun;12(6):e643-53.
3 Schabath, Matthew B, and Michele L Cote. “Cancer Progress and Priorities: Lung Cancer.” Cancer epidemiology, biomarkers & prevention: a publication of the American Association for Cancer Research, cosponsored by the American Society of Preventive Oncology vol. 28,10 (2019): 1563-1579.