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Perceived information after surgery for colorectal cancer – an explorative study


Maria Lithner, Department of Health Sciences, Lund University, Sweden.


Aim  With fast track surgery and shorter hospital stay, discharge from hospital after cancer surgery is becoming more challenging for the individual patient. The aim of this study was to explore how patients perceive information after surgery for colorectal cancer, what their information needs are and to determine factors affecting received information.

Method  A hundred patients filled in the questionnaires QLQ-C30, CR38 and INFO25 created by the European Organization for Research and Treatment of Cancer, the Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group (ECOG) instrument and the SOC (sense of coherence) instrument and provided written comments within the first 2 weeks after discharge following surgery for colorectal cancer. The questionnaires were analysed using hierarchical cluster analysis and a multiple linear regression analysis. The written comments were analysed using content analysis.

Results  In all, 49% of the patients expressed a need for more information. In the written comments they specified these areas of information: they lacked information concerning their surgery, how to handle symptoms and problems at home, someone to contact after discharge and prognostic information about their future. Patients reported most received information in areas of medical tests and disease but less on other services and support in outpatient care. The variation in INFO25 was best explained by gender (= 0.045) and preoperative health status (American Society of Anesthesiologists score 3, = 0.022).

Conclusion  The results from this study indicate that women and patients with a poorer preoperative health status scored less on information received and would need more time and support to prepare for discharge. The patients expressed a desire for more information about the surgery, how to handle symptoms at home and prognostic information about their future.