A patient perspective on shared decision making in stage I non-small cell lung cancer: A mixed methods study

  • Author: Hopmans, Damman, Senan, Hartemink, Smit & Timmermans
  • Journal: BMC Cancer
  • Issue: 15
  • Volume:
  • Pages:



Surgery and stereotactic ablative radiotherapy (SABR) are both curative treatment options for patients with a stage I non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). Consequently, there is growing interest in studying the role of patients in treatment decision making. We studied how patients with stage I NSCLC perceived shared decision making (SDM) in general, and how they viewed different aspects of SDM.


A sequential mixed methods design was used, consisting of qualitative interviews (N = 11), as well as a survey study (N = 76) focusing on different SDM-related aspects. Participants were interviewed to understand their own experience with treatment decision making. In the survey study, patients rated the importance of 20 aspects of shared decision making that were identified during interviews. Descriptive analysis and explorative factor analysis were performed.


We assessed six qualitative themes covering SDM aspects that were determined by patients to be important. The survey identified four SDM-related factors with sufficient internal consistency, namely (1) ‘guidance by clinician’ (α = .741), (2) ‘conduct of clinician’ (α = .774); (3) ‘preparation for treatment decision making’ (α = .864); and (4) ‘active role of patient in treatment decision making’ (α = .782). Of these, clinician guidance was rated as most important by patients (M = 3.61; SD = .44). Only 28.9 % of patients in the survey study reported that both treatment options were discussed with them.


Patients with a stage I NSCLC found clinician guidance to be important when making treatment decisions. Nevertheless, the majority of patients reported not being offered both treatment options, which might have influenced this finding.

Keywords: Shared decision making, Stereotactic ablative radiotherapy, Surgery, Patient perspective