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Health Expect. 2005 Jun;8(2):103-13.

Exploring the decision-making preferences of people with colorectal cancer.

Author information

  • 1School of Nursing, Midwifery and Social Work, University of Manchester, Manchester, UK. kinta.beaver@manchester.ac.uk



To explore patient views on participation in treatment, physical care and psychological care decisions and factors that facilitate and hinder patients from making decisions.


Qualitative study using semi-structured interviews with patients.


Three NHS Trusts in the north-west of England. Theoretical sampling including 41 patients who had been treated for colorectal cancer.


For patients, participation in the decision-making process was about being informed and feeling involved in the consultation process, whether patients actually made decisions or not. The perceived availability of treatment choices (surgery, radiotherapy, chemotherapy) was related to type of treatment. Factors that impacted on whether patients wanted to make decisions included a lack of information, a lack of medical knowledge and trust in medical expertise. Patients perceived that they could have a more participatory role in decisions related to physical and psychological care.


This study has implications for health professionals aiming to implement policy guidelines that promote patient participation and shared partnerships. Patients in this study wanted to be well informed and involved in the consultation process but did not necessarily want to use the information they received to make decisions. The presentation of choices and preferences for participation may be context specific and it cannot be assumed that patients who do not want to make decisions about one aspect of their care and treatment do not want to make decisions about other aspects of their care and treatment.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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