Lymphoma Program Collaborates with the Center for Research on End of Life Care

Dr. Kelly Trevino, Ph.D.
Dr. Kelly Trevino, Ph.D.

The Center for Research on End of Life Care in the Division of Geriatrics and Palliative Medicine is partnering with the Meyer Cancer Center Lymphoma Program to conduct research that will improve the understanding of lymphoma patients’ psychosocial needs. This unique collaboration, led by Drs. Kelly Trevino, John Leonard, and Peter Martin, between psycho-social researchers and lymphoma providers will result in a multi-disciplinary and well-rounded examination of these issues.

Initial projects are focusing on patients with indolent lymphomas and patients with aggressive illness. Using self-report surveys, researchers will collect data on patients’ distress, quality of life, understanding of their illness and treatment options, and need for psychological and support services over time. In addition, information about patients’ illness and treatment will be extracted from patients’ medical records. Research on patients with solid tumors suggests that a notable percentage experience distress and poor quality of life and have unmet psychosocial needs.

Further, many patients with advanced cancer do not understand the severity of their illness and the risks and benefits of their treatment options. This distress and poor illness understanding can influence treatment decisions and result in greater use of medical services, receipt of more aggressive, but futile care, and patient dissatisfaction with care. However, research on these issues in lymphoma patients is limited. This gap in knowledge is notable given differences between lymphoma and solid tumor cancers and the unique impact of lymphoma on patients’ psychosocial needs. This research will identify specific ways in which lymphoma negatively impacts patients’ well-being and quality of life and will inform resources and interventions to prevent and treat psychosocial distress in lymphoma patients.

Finally this research will identify the degree to which patients accurately understand their illness and will inform interventions to improve patients’ understanding of their illness and treatment options.  Interventions informed by this research will directly improve the quality of life of lymphoma patients and their ability to make treatment decisions consistent with their preferences and needs.

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