Purpose: Despite clinical guidelines, palliative care is underutilized during advanced stage lung cancer treatment. To inform interventions to increase its use, patient-level barriers and facilitators (i.e., determinants) need to be characterized, especially among patients living in rural areas or those receiving treatment outside academic medical centers. Methods: Between 2020 and 2021, advanced stage lung cancer patients (n = 77; 62% rural; 58% receiving care in the community) completed a one-time survey assessing palliative care use and its determinants. Univariate and bivariate analyses described palliative care use and determinants and compared scores by patient demographic (e.g., rural vs. urban) and treatment setting (e.g., community vs. academic medical center) factors. Results: Roughly half said they had never met with a palliative care doctor (49.4%) or nurse (58.4%) as part of cancer care. Only 18% said they knew what palliative care was and could explain it; 17% thought it was the same as hospice. After palliative care was distinguished from hospice, the most frequently cited reasons patients stated they would not seek palliative care were uncertainty about what it would offer (65%), concerns about insurance coverage (63%), difficulty attending multiple appointments (60%), and lack of discussion with an oncologist (59%). The most common reasons patients stated they would seek palliative care were a desire to control pain (62%), oncologist recommendation (58%), and coping support for family and friends (55%). Conclusion: Interventions should address knowledge and misconceptions, assess care needs, and facilitate communication between patients and oncologists about palliative care.

Original languageEnglish
Article number190
JournalSupportive Care in Cancer
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023, The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature.


  • Advanced stage lung cancer
  • Barriers
  • Facilitators
  • Palliative care

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology


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