Perceived quality of lung cancer communication is strongly associated with receiving potentially curative surgery for early-stage disease. The patient characteristics associated with poor quality communication in the setting of new lung cancer diagnosis are not known, although race may be a contributing factor. Using data from a prospective study of decision making in early-stage non-small cell lung cancer patients in five academic and community medical centers (N = 386), the authors used logistic regression techniques to identify patient-level characteristics correlated with scoring in the lowest quartile of a communication scale and a single-item communication variable describing shared communication. Income, lung cancer diagnostic status, and trust score were significantly associated with the overall communication scale. Lung cancer diagnostic status and trust score were also associated with patient perceptions of the single shared communication item, in addition to participation in a religious organization. Improving patient perceptions of communication with their provider is an important next step in ensuring that eligible patients receive optimal care for this deadly disease. This analysis identifies several modifiable factors that could improve patient perceptions of patient-provider communication. The fact that patient perception of communication is a predictor of the decision to undergo surgery independent of race highlights the need for broad communication interventions to ensure that as many eligible patients as possible are receiving surgery. © Taylor & Francis Group, LLC.