Mobile Health Tool for Lung Cancer (mHealthTLC)

Research Fields: 
Special Populations

Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death in both men and women. Lung cancer is unique because of racial disparity, persistent mortality rate, and social stigma. African- Americans are more likely than whites to avoid an evaluation for lung cancer, be diagnosed later with more advanced lung cancer, wait longer after diagnosis to receive treatment, refuse treatment, and more likely to die in the hospital after surgery. Stigma and difficult patient-clinician communication may be an underlying factor in health disparities in lung cancer; stigma is a significant barrier to early cancer detection. Stigma in lung cancer is based on the belief that one caused their own cancer (i.e., smoking). Lung cancer stigma (LCS) is a significant barrier to effective patient-clinician communication, early detection and self-management. LCS is prevalent and associated with significant increases in psychological and physical symptom severity and decreased quality of life (QOL) in both smokers and non-smokers.While stigma-reduction interventions are effective in other diseases, no interventions are available to decrease lung cancer stigma. With the rise of technology in health care, the use of electronic or virtual interventions provides new possibilities for cost effective and ethnically appropriate health care interventions. The advantages of virtual interventions are the ability to incorporate ethnic and cultural sensitivity, access hard to reach populations (mobile interventions can be provided in the clinic), provide opportunities for patients to interact and receive positive feedback for behavior change. The purpose of this study is to pilot test, in a diverse sample of lung cancer patients the effectiveness of  themHealth Tool for Lung Cancer patients (mHealthTLC), an interactive, immersive 3-dimensional iPad application that can allow individuals to experience first person virtual visits with their clinicians, to improve patient-clinician communication, decrease LCS, and promote optimal self-management.