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Partners' engagement in surveillance among survivors of colorectal cancer: A qualitative study.

Veenstra CM, Acosta J, Sharar R, Hawley ST, Morris AM. Partners' engagement in surveillance among survivors of colorectal cancer: A qualitative study. Cancer medicine. 2021 Feb 1; 10(4):1289-1296.

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OBJECTIVES: Following treatment of Stage III colorectal cancer, guidelines recommend 3-5 years of surveillance for recurrence. However, over half of the 1.2 million U.S. survivors of colorectal cancer fail to receive guideline-concordant surveillance. In light of growing recognition that members of couples are interdependent and influence each other''s health behaviors, we sought to describe, in their own words, the perspectives of spouses/partners on their engagement in patients'' surveillance. METHODS: We conducted in-person, semi-structured interviews with 10 survivors of stage III colorectal cancer and their partners, together and separately. Interviews were transcribed verbatim, iteratively coded, and analyzed to identify emergent themes pertaining to partner engagement. Findings were validated through triangulation between study team members and triangulation between dyadic and individual interviews, and through an extensive search of transcripts for disconfirming evidence. RESULTS: We identified three overarching domains of partner engagement in surveillance. First, psychosocial engagement included promoting patient participation in surveillance, showing care and concern, and attending to partner self-care. Second, information-seeking and dyadic communication focused on gathering information, staying informed about test results, and communicating about surveillance. Third, instrumental engagement referred to any explicit, objective activities such as scheduling appointments, attending appointments, and managing responsibilities at home. Participants shared strategies, examples, and in some cases unmet needs. CONCLUSIONS: This study generated new, clinically meaningful knowledge about the ways in which partners engage in patients'' surveillance. Opportunities to leverage partners as informal resources in surveillance include development of dyadic interventions to help partners engage most effectively.

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