Background: Contemporary management of colorectal cancer with synchronous liver metastases is complex. Although there is a large body of cohort data, there is no research exploring patient and clinician perspectives. This study explores the experiences and views of patients following treatment for colorectal cancer with synchronous liver metastases and the clinicians involved in their care.
Methods: This is a qualitative study based on interviews with patients who had completed treatment for colorectal cancer with synchronous liver metastases and their treating clinicians. The interviews were recorded, transcribed and analysed using thematic analysis methods. Codes were developed both horizontally regarding each interview as a standalone hermeneutic unit and vertically by scanning across interviews for specific terms.
Results: Four overarching themes emerged: patients’ experience of initial diagnosis, involvement in treatment, views on the order of staged resections and views about research. For patients, the first consultation is critically important. Patients generally perceived sufficient autonomy in decision-making. In treatment options there is a preference for synchronous surgery balanced by an understanding of the greater risk. Patients did not want liver-first surgery due to the perceived risk of continued seeding from an in situ primary tumour. Clinicians accepted limited evidence for decision making but felt that trials of treatment sequencing were not feasible.
Conclusions: This first qualitative study explores patients' perceptions in colorectal cancer with synchronous liver metastases that are not possible to obtain from quantitative data. CoSMIC-Q demonstrates the importance of incorporating patients’ views into treatment planning particularly where equipoise exists in surgical sequence.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
AKCC was supported by a grant from the Dickinson Trust .
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