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Determinants of Rectal Cancer Patients' Decisions on Where to Receive Surgery: a Qualitative Analysis.

Charlton ME, Shahnazi AF, Gribovskaja-Rupp I, Hunter L, Mengeling MA, Chrischilles EA, Lynch CF, Ward MM. Determinants of Rectal Cancer Patients' Decisions on Where to Receive Surgery: a Qualitative Analysis. Journal of Gastrointestinal Surgery : Official Journal of The Society For Surgery of The Alimentary Tract. 2019 Jul 1; 23(7):1461-1473.

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BACKGROUND: Current literature suggests surgeons who perform large volumes of rectal cancer resections achieve superior outcomes, but only about half of rectal cancer resections are performed by high-volume surgeons in comprehensive hospitals. Little is known about the considerations of patients with rectal cancer when deciding where to receive surgery. METHODS: A purposive sample of stage II/III rectal adenocarcinoma survivors diagnosed 2013-2015 were identified through the Iowa Cancer Registry and interviewed by telephone about factors influencing decisions on where to receive rectal cancer surgery. RESULTS: Fifteen survivors with an average age of 63 were interviewed: 60% were male, 53% resided in non-metropolitan areas, and 60% received surgery at low-volume facilities. Most patients considered surgeon volume and experience to be important determinants of outcomes, but few assessed it. Recommendation from a trusted source, usually a physician, appeared to be a main determinant of where patients received surgery. Patients who chose low-volume centers noted comfort and familiarity as important decision factors. CONCLUSION: Most rectal cancer patients in our sample relied on physician referrals to decide where to receive surgery. Interventions facilitating more informed decision-making by patients and referring providers may be warranted.

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