A diagnosis of colorectal polyp cancer presents a treatment dilemma. The decision between segmental resection versus endoscopic surveillance is difficult due to a lack of good quality clinical evidence for either option. The aim of this study was to understand the decision making experiences of both clinicians and patients when faced with such a diagnosis.
Qualitative, semi-structured interviews were undertaken with ten clinicians involved in the care of patients diagnosed with polyp cancer and five patients who had experience of a diagnosis of polyp cancer. All clinicians and patients were from four hospital Trusts across the North of England. Interviews were audio recorded, transcribed verbatim and analysed using the principles of Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis.
Analysis of the interview transcripts evidenced that clinicians and patients were supportive of a shared approach to treatment decision making in the context of a diagnosis of colorectal polyp cancer. Uncertainty, influences and information were among the themes identified to be preventing this happening at present. This study identified themes which were common to both groups. These were: complexity of the risk information; lack of patient information resources; system factors and time.
This research study has evidenced several factors such as uncertainty, complexity of risk information and influences on decisions which are preventing patients being involved in treatment decisions following a diagnosis of colorectal polyp cancer. Recommendations for improvements in practice, including a framework to assist treatment decision making in the future have been highlighted.