Dyspnea Among Patients with Advanced Lung Cancer:
A Concept Analysis

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Barbara A. Roces, PhD, MSN, NP, RN


Dyspnea is a subjective, multidimensional experience of breathing discomfort, influenced by physiological, psychological, social, and environmental factors, which includes secondary psychological and behavioral responses and cannot be defined only by physical objective abnormalities. It has been found to create barriers in daily life among patients with advanced lung cancer which interferes with physical activities such as walking, work, and psychological activities such as disposition, taking pleasure in life, relationship with others, and sleep. This paper aims to identify current theoretical and operational definitions of dyspnea and to identify and describe defining attributes of dyspnea. The method of inquiry was guided by Walker and Avant’s (2011) approach to concept analysis. From this analysis, a conceptual model of dyspnea experience within the core of patients with advanced lung cancer may include attributes of dyspnea occurrence and distress as not only the physiological, psychological, and environmental, but also the situational existential meaning or perception of individual suffering from dyspnea. Dyspnea is a symptom that is usually under-diagnosed and inadequately managed due to lack of recognition or availability of interventions. The impact of dyspnea management on the quality of life in advanced lung cancer patients requires more recognition and better quality of care. Despite the frequency and complexity of this symptom, little research has been conducted to specifically identify effective treatment in patients with advanced lung cancer. Further investigations are needed in this area to assert the total dyspnea experience that could be influential in regards to the impact of dyspnea management on the quality of life in patients with advanced lung cancer.


About the Author

Barbara A. Roces PhD, MSN, NP, RN received her Bachelor of Science in Nursing from University of Southern California at Los Angeles and her Master of Science in Nursing from University of California Los Angeles with specialization as an Oncology Nurse Practitioner. She obtained her PhD in Nursing from the University of San Diego in California. She is an Associate Professor of Nursing at West Coast University in Los Angeles, California. Additionally, she works as a Hospice/Palliative Nurse Practitioner. Her dedication to research is exceptional as evident by multiple presentations of her research study “Patients with Advanced Lung Cancer: Quality of Life and Perception of Dyspnea.” Her research interest includes promotion of Quality of Life in Palliative/Hospice patients, as well as looking at the psychophysiological aspect of dying patients with advanced cancer diagnosis.