The National Lung Cancer Support Group Network
Source: Lung Cancer Alliance
Period: September 2017 – November 2018
Role: K. McDonnell, PI
In 2017, the Lung Cancer Alliance provided funding for our team to launch a dedicated lung cancer support group. We called our group the “Breathe Easier Club.” The Club’s objective is to provide education and fellowship to patients, survivors, family members and friends.
Each month, speakers are invited to present on a range of topics relevant to lung cancer survivorship: mindfulness for lung cancer, nutrition, pulmonary rehabilitation, and sleep quality.
We are proud to be a part of this network, and pleased to have had the opportunity to create a critically important resource in our community.
More about the project
An estimated 224,000 people were diagnosed with lung cancer in the U.S. in 2014 but fewer than 100 lung cancer-specific support groups are available. Research has shown that patients diagnosed with lung cancer have more distress and greater unmet physical and emotional needs than those facing other types of cancer. Social support in particular is a significant unmet need and is most effectively provided in face-to-face support groups. The groups that do exist are ending at a rate of about 10 percent each year. Most lung cancer patients prefer disease-specific support groups, but starting and maintaining them can be challenging, and there are not enough in existence to meet the current and projected need.
As part of a National Lung Cancer Support Group Network pilot program, the Lung Cancer Alliance (LCA) seeks to improve access to lung cancer-specific support groups and to improve the sustainability of these support groups through technical guidance to facilitators. LCA will launch three lung cancer-specific support groups in areas of the U.S. with the highest need, with the purpose of ultimately developing a model for future group facilitators.
The first of these groups was created in collaboration with Gilda’s Club in Nashville, Tennessee, which has the fourth-highest incidence of lung cancer in the country but only one lung cancer support group in the state. A second group was started at Merit Health in Mississippi, with one additional site still to be identified. The National Lung Cancer Support Group Network will connect all existing lung cancer support groups in the country.