“I was never one of those people who just jumped right in for me”: patient perspectives on self-advocacy training for women with advanced cancer

Support Care Cancer. 2023 Jan 4;31(1):96. doi: 10.1007/s00520-022-07531-3.


PURPOSE: Patients with advanced cancer experience many complicated situations that can make self-advocacy (defined as the ability speak up for yourself in the face of a challenge) difficult. Few self-advocacy interventions exist, and most are atheoretical with minimal patient engagement. The purpose of this study is to describe participant perspectives of a novel, self-advocacy serious game intervention called Strong Together.

METHODS: This was a qualitative cross-sectional descriptive study among women receiving cancer care at an academic cancer center within 3 months of an advanced gynecologic or breast cancer diagnosis. Participants randomized to receive the intervention completed one-on-one semi-structured interviews 3-months post Strong Together and had the option to share voice journals about their experiences. Inductive qualitative approaches were used to descriptively analyze transcripts and voice journals. Descriptive content analysis approaches were used to group similar codes together into themes summarizing participants’ experiences engaging with the Strong Together intervention.

RESULTS: Participants (N = 40) reported that the Strong Together intervention was acceptable, noting that it was realistic and reflective of their personal experiences. Overarching themes included seeing myself in most scenarios and wanting more content; giving me the go ahead to expect more; offering ideas for how to stand up for myself; reinforcing what I am already doing; and reminding me of what I have. Participants suggested adding additional content including diverse characters.

CONCLUSION: This study demonstrated that women with advanced cancer were receptive to a self-advocacy skills-building intervention. Future research should explore the mechanisms linking serious games to learning and health outcomes.

PMID:36598659 | DOI:10.1007/s00520-022-07531-3

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