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J Psychosoc Oncol. 2014;32(3):245-63. doi: 10.1080/07347332.2014.897293.

The role of social support in posttreatment surveillance among African American survivors of colorectal cancer.

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a School of Public Health, Department of Behavioral and Community Health , University of Maryland , College Park , MD , USA.


African Americans are less likely than other groups to receive appropriate surveillance after colorectal cancer (CRC) treatment. The objective of this study is to qualitatively explore the role of social support in post-CRC treatment surveillance and ultimately, inform interventions to promote surveillance in African American survivors of CRC. Interviews were conducted with 60 African American survivors of CRC recruited from the Cancer Care Outcomes Research and Surveillance (CanCORS) study and the Alabama Statewide Cancer Registry. Interviews were recorded and transcribed. Transcripts were reviewed and coded independently by the authors. The NVivo software package was used to facilitate coding and data management. Survivors were from 4 to 6 years post diagnosis, 57% female, 60% older than age 65 years, 57% from rural Alabama, 30% with stage 1, 32% with stage 2, and 38% with stage 3 disease. Material and emotional social support from family and one's faith community were cited as playing an important role in coping with the disease and posttreatment surveillance. Survivors who reported being adherent with posttreatment surveillance recommendations (according to stage of disease based on self-report of colonoscopy, computed tomography scans, and blood work) reported more religious material and non-material social support, and support from other survivors of CRC. In these African American survivors of CRC, support from family, other survivors of cancer, and the faith community was perceived as being important for adherence to posttreatment surveillance. Interventions to increase posttreatment surveillance in this population may be enhanced by including components that emphasize familial, other cancer survivor, and religious support.


African American; colonoscopy; colorectal cancer; guidelines; oncology; surveillance

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