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Advanced lung cancer, Chinese, Dyspnea



  1. Lai, Y. L. MN, BSN, RN
  2. Chan, Carmen W.H. PhD, RN
  3. Lopez, Violeta PhD, RN, MNA, MPET, FRCNA


Dyspnea is a distressful but neglected symptom in oncology practice and research. The aim of this study was to describe the experience of dyspnea and helpful interventions in Chinese patients with advanced lung cancer admitted in the palliative care unit in 1 region in Hong Kong. A qualitative description approach using in-depth interviews was used to guide this study. Eleven participants agreed to be interviewed with age ranging from 51 to 80 years. They have been diagnosed with lung cancer from 1 to 12 months, and all required oxygen therapy from dyspnea. The results of content analysis revealed 4 main themes: (1) characteristics of dyspnea, (2) impact of dyspnea, (3) strategies used to manage dyspnea, and (4) nurses' role in managing dyspnea. Patients in this study found no Chinese words to adequately define and describe dyspnea and relied on sensations they experienced during the dyspnea episode. The impact of dyspnea was multidimensional, and patients used various strategies to manage dyspnea, including avoiding triggers and utilizing traditional Chinese medicine. Healthcare professionals were perceived to play a very inadequate role in assisting patients with dyspnea, and participants suggested that they should take a more active role in educating and supporting patients with dyspnea.