There are two things most people believe about lung cancer, says Jamie Studts, PhD, co-leader of the Cancer Prevention & Control Program at the CU Cancer Center: Those who suffer from it most likely caused it by using tobacco, and the prognosis for surviving the disease is poor.
While neither of those things is strictly true, the common perception of lung cancer means that those who survive it often do so alone, without the sense of community and togetherness that is the norm for many survivors of breast cancer, colorectal cancer, and other cancers.
That’s why, when he served as professor of behavioral science at the University of Kentucky Markey Cancer Center, Studts led the development of an intervention to help support lung cancer survivors through their survivorship journey.
Now on faculty at the University of Colorado School of Medicine, Studts — along with his colleague Jessica Burris, PhD, associate professor of psychology at the University of Kentucky — recently received a grant from the National Cancer Institute to further explore the intervention among lung cancer survivors in rural Kentucky. Working with collaborators from the James Graham Brown Cancer Center at the University of Louisville, the Markey Cancer Center at the University of Kentucky, and the GO2 Foundation for Lung Cancer, Studts, Burris, and their interdisciplinary team will measure the differences in outcomes between an intervention led by survivorship coordinators trained in the program he helped to create and a lesser-impact intervention in which lung cancer survivors have access to a workbook but no in-person counseling.
The trial, slated to launch in spring or early summer 2022, will run for three years. Pending favorable results, Studts and his team hope the study will impact practice guidelines for lung cancer survivorship care. They also are planning further implementation and adaptation studies to examine how to facilitate implementation in diverse community settings.
We talked to Studts about the intervention and the new study.