Northwestern Medicine researchers launch study to enhance lung cancer survivorship in suburban and rural communities

Updated 8/20/2021 9:20 PM

A researcher from the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine and the Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center is partnering with an oncologist at Northwestern Medicine to improve health outcomes for lung cancer survivors in some rural Illinois communities.

By interviewing survivors and their caregivers about their experiences after treatment, the information they gather will support new strategies to help suburban and rural lung cancer survivors receive the follow-up care they need.


Marquita W. Lewis-Thames, principal investigator of the study called the CENTRAL Project, is scheduling interviews with lung cancer survivors and caregivers to provide insight into their long-term care plans. These individuals must be 18 years or older, must live in a rural community and need to have completed active cancer treatment.

"Rural residents know something is not right about cancer in their community, and answers are sometimes hard to come by," Lewis-Thames said. "It can be difficult for rural patients to return to a cancer center for additional care and follow-up visits. We want to talk to people who have completed lung cancer treatment and get a full understanding of their supportive care needs so we can develop programs and services that help them stay healthier longer."

Lung cancer survivors can take part in interviews via telephone or in person, and there are two interview formats: as an individual and as part of a focus group. Interviews will be from 45 minutes to one hour, and each participant will receive at least a $20 incentive. If a person chooses an in-person interview, the researchers and participants will adhere to all recommended COVID-19 protocols to ensure the safety of everyone involved.

Dr. Alan Wan, a medical oncologist at Northwestern Medicine Huntley Hospital, said cancer survivorship plans help patients and their physicians communicate better.

"A survivorship care plan includes information about a patient's treatment, follow-up tests, and other members of their medical care team," Wan said. "It's an important part of a patient's long-term health, but sometimes patients do not fully understand the importance of adhering to their follow-up care plan. This study will help us find ways to make ongoing cancer care easy and more accessible to patients who live in suburban and rural communities."

Patients with lung cancer or caregivers of someone with lung cancer are encouraged to call (312) 503-1986 or email to find out if they are qualified for the study.

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