Consumer impact of an interactive decision aid for rectal cancer patients offered adjuvant therapy
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OBJECTIVE: There is increasing interest in the use of decision aids (DAs) to facilitate patient involvement in clinical decisions. This study explored the views of patients with colorectal cancer and participants in a community bowel screening service regarding an interactive DA concerning adjuvant treatment for rectal cancer, and the impact of the aid on knowledge, anxiety, attitudes and preferences for treatment options. METHOD: Fourteen patients with colorectal cancer participated in four focus groups. Eighty-nine participants in a community bowel screening service completed a questionnaire before and 1 week after viewing the DA. Thirty were randomly selected to participate in a telephone interview to obtain qualitative feedback about the DA. RESULTS: Focus group participants reported using information to evaluate their doctor's care and expertise, or to prepare themselves for future symptoms and side-effects. Most supported the use of a DA and preferred pie charts to convey risk information. Within the community sample, anxiety remained stable and knowledge increased after exposure to the DA. Almost all participants found the DA useful and easy to understand, and felt it would make the process of decision making easier. CONCLUSION: A DA regarding adjuvant therapy for rectal cancer appears to be valued and to produce positive outcomes. A randomized controlled trial of this intervention is now required.
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