A qualitative examination of patient priorities and preferences during treatment decision-making for recurrent head and neck cancer

Head and Neck Cancer
07/05/2020

Rhoten BA, et al. Support Care Cancer 2020.

ABSTRACT

PURPOSE: Patients with recurrent head and neck cancer (HNC) may feel overwhelmed at the prospect of having to consider treatment options particularly if they recently completed treatment for their primary disease or when they have no options that may lead to long-term survival. The purpose of this study was to examine patient priorities and preferences during treatment decision-making for recurrent HNC.

METHODS: Individuals with newly diagnosed recurrent HNC were recruited at a National Cancer Institute-Designated Cancer Center. Participants were interviewed using a structured interview guide. Descriptive statistics were used to describe participants, and qualitative template analysis was used to analyze interview data.

RESULTS: Participants (n = 38) considered information from healthcare providers, likelihood of treatment success, and other patient-specific factors in making their treatment decisions.

CONCLUSIONS: Although patients with recurrent HNC endorse a myriad of decision-making factors, the recommendation of their healthcare provider and the likelihood of treatment success are of paramount importance. Future research should focus on methods to rapidly identify patient priorities at the time of diagnosed recurrence while respecting patient coping and communication styles.