Treatment Adherence in Patients with Lung Cancer from Prospects of Patients and Physicians

Document Type : Research Articles


1 Faculty of Social & Political Sciences, University of Peloponnese, Corinth, Greece.

2 School of Nursing, University of Thessaly Greece.

3 Community Mental Health Centre, University Mental Health Research Institute (UMHRI), Athens, Greece.

4 First Department of Psychiatry, Aiginition Hospital, Medical School, Kapodistrian University of Athens, Athens, Greece.

5 Division of Medical Oncology, Third Department of Medicine, Kapodistrian University of Athens, Athens, Greece.

6 Health Policy Institute (HPI), Athens, Greece.

7 Surgical Oncology Unit, Nuova Villa Claudia, Rome, Italy.

8 Faculty of Nursing, School of Health Sciences, Department of Mental Health and Behavioral Sciences, Kapodistrian University of Athens, Athens, Greece.


Purpose: Adherence to treatment can be defined as the degree to which a patient’s behavior is consonant with medical or health advice he or she receive as part of his treatment regimen. The aim of this study was:  1) to measure the rate of treatment adherence to among patients with lung cancer from the prospect of both patients and physicians, 2) to measure the degree of concordance between the two prospect, and 3) to identify factors related to adherence for both prospect (patients and physicians). Materials and Methods: A total of 250 patients were included in this study. Information about socio-economic characteristics, depressive and anxiety symptoms (Hospital Anxiety and Depression scale), nicotine dependence (Fagerstrom scale), barriers to accessing care, and the level of treatment adherence was collected through interview. Physicians were enquired about disease and treatment variables as well as patients’ level of adherence. Results: From the patient perspective, only 1.2% of patients displayed poor adherence; whereas the corresponding percentage among physicians was 12.4%. The concordance between the two was low: 0.244. The correlation of measurements made on the same individual was found to be equal to 0.14. Barriers to accessing medication (O.R.=2.82, 95% C.I.: 1.01-8.09) was the only risk factor when adherence was self-rated; barriers to accessing medication (O.R.=2.45, 95% C.I.: 1.03-5.86), education equal to 12 years (O.R.=0.33, 95% C.I.: 0.13-0.82) or higher than 12 years (O.R.=0.28, 95% C.I.: 0.08-0.96), nicotine dependence (O.R.=1.41, 95% C.I. 1.17-1.69) and HADS anxiety score (O.R.=1.15, 95% C.I. 1.03-1.30) were the predictors in physicians’ rating. Conclusions: Differences in rating adherence may underpin communication gaps between patients and physicians. Systemic determinants of poor adherence should not be overlooked. A concerted effort by researchers, physicians and policy makers in defining as well as communicating adherence, while removing its barriers should be made.


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