Discussion of First-Degree Relatives' Colorectal Cancer Risk: Survivors' Perspectives

Alexis M. Koskan, Kamilah B. Thomas-Purcell, Daohai Yu, Gwendolyn P. Quinn, Sophie Dessureault, David Shibata, Paul B. Jacobsen, Clement K. Gwede

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Although screening reduces colorectal cancer (CRC) incidence and mortality, screening rates are low, particularly among CRC patients' first-degree relatives (FDRs). Little is known about discussion of family members' risk of CRC among patients and their health care providers or with their FDRs. The purpose of this research, guided by the Protection Motivation Theory, was to assess patients' patterns of disclosure of CRC diagnosis to adult siblings and/or children and discussion of familial risk by healthcare providers. A cross-sectional sample of patients who received care at a comprehensive cancer center was recruited to complete telephone-based interviews related to disclosure of CRC diagnosis to FDRs, recall of physician counseling about familial risk, and patients' perception of CRC risk to FDRs. Sixty-nine patients completed the interview. Most participants (n = 67, 97%) had informed their adult children or siblings of their CRC diagnosis to keep their family informed of their health status (n = 15, 22%) and to encourage FDRs to screen for CRC (n = 14, 20%). More than half of the participants' physicians (n = 38, 55%) discussed FDRs' risk of developing CRC with the patient. However, a substantial proportion of patients reported no physician discussion of this risk (n = 28, 41%). Data from this study may guide the development of interventions to facilitate physician discussion and counseling of CRC patients about their FDRs' risk for CRC. However, future studies should explore whether FDRs are likely to be screened after becoming aware of their family member's diagnosis of CRC.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)782-790
Number of pages9
JournalHealth Communication
Issue number8
StatePublished - Sep 2014
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Communication


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