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Article

Stress in Patients With Lung Cancer: A Human Response to Illness

Freya Hansen
Jo-Ann V. Sawatzky
ONF 2008, 35(2), 217-223 DOI: 10.1188/08.ONF.217-223

Purpose/Objectives: To provide a comprehensive overview of stress in patients diagnosed with lung cancer within the context of the four perspectives (normal physiologic, pathophysiologic, behavioral, and experiential) of the Human Response to Illness Model.

Data Sources: Published research articles, clinical articles, book chapters, and Internet sources on stress and lung cancer. Initial literature searches in CINAHL® and PubMed® focused on data subsequent to 2001; classic research dating back to the 1970s also was included.

Data Synthesis: Patients diagnosed with lung cancer experience psychological and biologic stressors from a delayed cancer diagnosis, symptom management issues, and social stigmatization of their illness. These stressors may cause a physiologic stress response, exacerbate the disease process, and decrease the patient's quality of life.

Conclusions: Acknowledging that the stress response may interact with pathophysiologic disease processes such as lung cancer is important, and stress management in patients with cancer should include all four perspectives of the Human Response to Illness Model.

Implications for Nursing: By examining the four perspectives, interventions may be implemented to prevent or alleviate the detrimental effects of the pathophysiologic stress response. This article establishes the relevance of this nursing model to assess and manage stress among patients with lung cancer and other types of cancers.

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