Health communication is imperative in all facets of disease prevention, promotion of well-being, and fitness education (Farzadnia & Giles, 2015). The African American culture suffers a more disproportionate impact of lung cancer with respect to prevalence and survival than other cultural groups in the US. Apart from poor communication with health professionals, there is a likelihood that smoking, the greatest etiological aspect linked to lung cancer, has a vital role to play in the African American disparities. This research paper aims to bring out the significance of effective communication and early screening of lung cancer on patients, their families, and healthcare providers. Smoking and communication problems result in about 85% of the cases of lung cancer (Ryan, 2018). It is mutually a problem for patients and health providers to manage a condition of lung cancer that is much advanced. Indicators of the disease appear during advanced phases of the problem. At this point, it is normally difficult to treat lung cancer, and this usually creates a difficult situation for both patients and physicians. Not only in the African American culture, but lung cancer is also the number one killer internationally as its signs and symptoms are not detectable in the initial stages. The communication style, culture, and identity of every care provider and patient are integral to successful health awareness, disease prevention, diagnosis, and treatment.
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Review of the Literature
With the continued expansion of social media and digital expertise, health professionals should increase their communication on such platforms to satisfy anticipations and requirements of consumers, for example, lung cancer patients. Such an adaptation might encompass the provision of medical information on networking sites. An excellently implemented social media presence offers caregivers, encompassing physical therapists and oncologists, the chance, and possibly a professional responsibility, to employ social media platforms to share convincing medical data and meet consumers’ need for quality information on well-being, treatment, and fitness (Gagnon & Sabus, 2015).
Social media platforms present an exceptional channel for the dissemination of evidence-based communication to varied audiences and among individuals hence enhancing dialogue concerning health and medical risk (Strekalova & Krieger, 2017). Directed by the social intensification of risk structure, Strekalova and Krieger (2017) sought to evaluate the rate of audience involvement at the Facebook page of the National Cancer Institute and check divergences in their communication and behavior toward risk-associated and non-risk situations. The results of the study underscore the significance of communication and its influence on the distribution and intensification of messages associated with medical risks (Strekalova & Krieger, 2017).
Lung cancer is a malignant tumor categorized by unrestrained cell growth within the pleura. When the tumor is not treated opportunely, the growth could disperse outside the lung by the course of metastasis into nearby tissues. Although up to 85% of individuals suffering from lung cancer are tobacco smokers, the other proportion comprises of persons who have never smoked (Kumar, Becker, Zheng, Huang, & Xu, 2015). Other causes come from a compound of genetic aspects, radon gas, second-hand smoke, asbestos, and other methods of air contamination. A lung cancer diagnosis is affirmed by biopsy, which is normally implemented by computerized tomography (CT) screening guidance. A wide pool of studies establishes that it is difficult to detect lung cancer in the initial stages. Some of the indicators of lung cancer in the advanced stages consist of systematic signs, for instance, weight loss, clubbing, fever, and weakness. Similarly, respiratory symptoms comprise wheezing, coughing up blood, and reduced breath. Moreover, lung cancer is indicated by chest pain, difficulty in swallowing, bone pain, and vena cava blockage.
Long exposure to radon in homes leads to lung cancer. This is a major cause of lung cancer to nonsmokers and could be prevented through effective communication with health providers. It leads to almost eight times as many lung cancers as passive smoke. The majority of people at great risk of lung cancer from radon are individuals who spend most of their time at home. This normally includes women and children. Occupational exposure is also a key causative agent, which accounts for up to 27% of lung cancer in men (Saltybaeva, Martini, Frauenfelder, & Alkadhi, 2016). Moreover, exposure to air pollution, in addition to passive smoking, has been a causative agent of the disease across the globe and could as well be avoided through increased awareness from communication with health professionals.
The argument on skyrocketing cases of lung cancer in the African American culture is not an isolated example since, in the state of Florida in the US, the survival rate of people with lung cancer has been determined to be 17%. This involves people with advanced lung cancer (Tanvetyanon et al., 2015). Nonetheless, the endurance level is approximately less than six years. As per previous research carried out in 2014, it was confirmed that there were 1.82 million cases of lung cancer internationally. Research also confirmed that there were 1.56 million death cases. It was noted that the largest rates were from the northern parts of America, in particular, Florida State. In the United States, the lifetime risk of developing lung tumors in women and men is 6% and 8%, respectively. From the established causes of lung cancer, discharges from automobiles, power plants, and factories have been acknowledged as other main causes. In the US, black women and men are usually at great risk of being affected by lung cancer (Webb, 2018). Moreover, the US military veterans have a 30 to 55% chance of having lung cancer, mainly due to increased levels of smoking.
Communication accommodation theory underscores people’s convictions and motivations fundamental in communicative conduct, either oriented obliquely into or divergently away from others at hand (Pretorius, 2018). The theory affirms that communicators tend to accommodate the people they esteem, trust, like, and value, which results in social and discursive differences being attenuated (Farzadnia & Giles, 2015). Patients require the support of health professionals to understand the best means of managing discourse, communicating their symptoms successfully, and appreciating the fact that interventions assist them in obtaining timely care and managing underlying conditions efficiently. Moreover, it has been established that accommodative application of linguistic elements such as interruption, pauses, and making inquiries in health professional’s talk might articulate a sense of concern and facilitate contribution by patients (Farzadnia & Giles, 2015). Nevertheless, provider-centered communication such as inappropriate interruptions and the application of close-ended questions might disrupt the progression of inquiring about health information or obtaining prompt care. Patient-centered communication is vital to effective treatment.
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New communication policies and strategies should be incorporated into the healthcare system in the US that would enhance annual CT screening for both high-risk patients exposed to smoke and chemical poisons, people in the African American culture, and residents of the state of Florida (Lathan, Waldman, Browning, Gagne, & Emmons, 2015). Lung cancer screening employs medical assessment to detect the disorder in huge groups of people who have no signs of the disease. For people with a high likelihood of getting lung cancer, CT screening could detect it and give individuals options to respond to it in a method that would elongate lifespan. When noted early enough, lung cancer is treatable. Therefore, the US government should ensure that it lays policies and plans on how people communicate with health professionals and go for screening regularly. Additionally, CT screening reduces the cases of advanced lung cancer by about 40%. This takes place as some individuals could have attained an advanced level of the disease when going for screening.
High-risk individuals are people in the age bracket of 55-74 years. Those who have been exposed to smoking for a long time, which could be up to 30 years, are at risk of the disease. They deserve annual screening and regular communication with caregivers (Badr, Carmack, & Diefenbach, 2015). The US government should at least ensure that people at risk of the disease have access to at least one CT screening every year. Additionally, people at low risk of being affected by lung cancer could also receive increased awareness and CT screening annually (Braun, Zomorodbakhsch, Keinki, & Huebner, 2019). People in the African American culture and the ones in Florida State should thoroughly be incorporated into this system to evade a large number of deaths linked to lung cancer. Lawmakers in the US Senate should pass a bill that will ensure that people in the African American culture or state of Florida have effective communication channels with health providers and free or low-cost CT screening.
Effective communication channels with health professionals make people encouraged to undergo lung cancer screening even if they have not experienced any symptoms whatsoever. When one is screened and found to have lung cancer in its early stages, it is beneficial to the patient and his/her family. Best practice criteria for lung cancer are broadly grounded on the rationale that medical resection of cancer in a patient with early detection results in the best chance of cure. Enhancement of communication in the health industry leads to high survival rates for lung cancer, necessitates that individuals present themselves early enough in the natural account of the disorder and that medical services be adequately and promptly provided (Pretorius, 2018). This should be synchronized to develop patients’ progress along the cancer treatment course from communication with health professionals to diagnosis and management in an effective and appropriate method (Sedrak, Cohen, Merchant, & Schapira, 2016). Delays for diagnosis could minimize the curative possibility. Enhancing the medical journey for persons with lung cancer requires recognizing and eliminating communication and early screening obstacles, in addition to quality care.
Despite the increasing benefits of health communication, even on social media platforms, there are rising drawbacks. Attributable to the ubiquity of social networking sites, there is a probability that a huge fraction of health professionals employ the platforms mainly for personal instead of professional purposes. Professional values and organizational strategies usually warn health providers of the probable effects of the use of social media and highlight avoidance of unsought conduct. The majority of caregivers have ethical concerns surrounding patient-doctor interrelations on social media (Gagnon & Sabus, 2015). This may hinder effective communication to possible lung cancer patients for early screening hence resulting in late identification of the disease. Moreover, language discordance may restrict health providers from ensuring effective patient-centered communication. Attributed intentions and readiness to accommodate can sway patients’ evaluative responses more than cultural typecasts or knowledge problems. Health providers should develop not just their linguistic and accommodative resources to reduce setbacks but also the capacity to communicate effectively.
Communication accommodation theory does not broaden to empirically confirm whether approximation policies arise in communicative interrelations and depend on people to report such alterations. This has restrictions because not every person is conscious of their communication technique. Many patients or people seeking medical information do not understand whether they diverge or converge to the communication of other people or the best way of obtaining knowledge regarding their conditions from health professionals. Communication training might help raise awareness of numerous practices through which people communicate and may lead to fewer people experiencing unawareness of communicative inclinations (Peterson et al., 2016). The healthcare system should educate caregivers and the public about ineffective communication and desired tendencies to ensure that medical information is shared promptly and lung cancer patients undergo early screening.
Effective communication with health providers increases the possibility of early screening of lung cancer, which leads to successful treatment. Enhanced awareness of probable warning indicators of lung cancer among health professionals and the public has a great influence on the eradication and prevention of the condition. Screening tests seek to detect illnesses at an early stage before any symptoms become detectable. This has the benefit of patients receiving treatment early enough before the condition worsens. There should be enhanced awareness to ensure that lung cancer screening and diagnosis occur at an early stage to improve health among African Americans, people living in Florida State, and around the world.
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