A qualitative focus group study to identify the needs of survivors of stage II and III colorectal cancer

Psychooncology. 2016 Dec;25(12):1470-1476. doi: 10.1002/pon.3988. Epub 2015 Sep 20.


Background: Prior survivorship research has largely focused on issues faced by survivors of childhood tumors, breast cancers, or hematologic malignancies. Relatively little is known about the needs of other prevalent survivor groups. Our aim was to identify the specific concerns of colorectal cancer (CRC) survivors in the key domains of physical functioning, psychological wellbeing, and social relationships.

Methods: We conducted focus groups with stage II and III CRC survivors who had completed their primary active anti-cancer treatments. Patients were asked to describe how their diagnosis and treatment impacted their lives, to outline deficiencies in the care that they received, and to suggest ways of addressing any unmet needs. A content analysis was subsequently conducted to identify major themes.

Results: Thirty CRC survivors participated in six focus groups. Individuals reported some degree of dissatisfaction with the amount and type of diagnostic and treatment information they received at their initial clinic visit. Distress from toxicities, such as peripheral neuropathy, was also common among the survivors. Similarly, the majority faced challenges adjusting to their lives and daily activities, especially in caring for their colostomy. Having survived CRC, many survivors expressed an interest in advocacy and health promotion of CRC.

Conclusions: CRC survivors face many barriers after their cancer treatment. Issues with colostomy are unique to this survivor group. Interventions to improve CRC survivorship care should also incorporate opportunities for patient advocacy. Copyright © 2015 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Cancer Survivors / psychology*
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / diagnosis
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / psychology*
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / therapy
  • Colostomy / psychology
  • Combined Modality Therapy / psychology
  • Female
  • Focus Groups*
  • Health Services Needs and Demand*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Patient Care Team
  • Patient Satisfaction
  • Qualitative Research
  • Quality of Life / psychology*
  • Social Support