Involvement in Chemotherapy Decision Making among Patients with Stage II and III Colon Cancer

MDM Policy Pract. 2023 Mar 27;8(1):23814683231163189. doi: 10.1177/23814683231163189. eCollection 2023 Jan-Jun.


Background. To explore preferred and actual involvement in chemotherapy decision making among stage II and III colon cancer (CC) patients by sociodemographic, interpersonal, and intrapersonal communication factors. Methods. Cross-sectional exploratory study collecting self-reported survey data from stage II and III CC patients from 2 cancer centers located in northern Manhattan. Results. Of 88 patients approached, 56 completed the survey. Only 19.3% reported shared involvement in their chemotherapy decisions. We observed significant differences in preferred involvement by gender, with women preferring more physician-controlled decisions. CC patients with higher levels of decisional self-efficacy significantly preferred shared decisions (F = 4.4 [2], P = 0.02). Actual involvement in decisions differed by race (physician controlled 33% for White v. 67% for Other, P < 0.01), age (shared control 18% for ≤55 y, 55% for 55-64 y, and 27% for 65+ y, P = 0.04), and perception of choice (shared control 73% "yes" v. 27% "no,"P = 0.02). Actual or preferred involvement did not differ by stage. Significantly higher levels of medical mistrust (discrimination t = 2.8 [50], P = 0.01; lack of support t = 3.6 [49], P < 0.01), and lower levels of decisional self-efficacy (t = 2.5 [49], P = 0.01) were reported among women. Discussion. Reports of shared involvement around chemotherapy decisions is limited among CC patients. Factors influencing preferred versus actual chemotherapy decision making are complex and may differ; hence, more research is needed to understand and address factors contributing to discordance between preferred and actual involvement in chemotherapy decision making for CC patients.

Highlights: Shared involvement around chemotherapy decisions remains limited for patients diagnosed with colon cancer.Sociodemographic (age, race, gender), interpersonal (medical mistrust), and intrapersonal (decisional self-efficacy, perception of choice) factors that influence preferred involvement in chemotherapy decision making may differ from those influencing actual involvement in chemotherapy decision making.Shared involvement in chemotherapy decisions may look different than currently conceptualized, notably when uncertainty around the benefits exists.

Keywords: cancer treatment; colon cancer; shared decision making.