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Decision Making for Cancer Clinical Trial Participation: A Systematic Review

Barbara A. Biedrzycki
ONF 2010, 37(6), E387-E399 DOI: 10.1188/10.ONF.E387-E399

Purpose/Objectives: To describe what is known about the factors that influence cancer clinical trial decision making.

Data Sources: PubMed database and reference lists of identified articles.

Data Synthesis: Variations in research design and methods, including sample characteristics, instrumentation, time between decision made and measurement of decision making, and response rates, have effects on what is known about decision making for cancer clinical trial participation. Communication, whether in the form of education about a cancer clinical trial or as a personal invitation to join, is an important factor influencing decision making. Personal and system factors influence the outcomes of decision making for cancer clinical trials.

Conclusions: The process of decision making for cancer clinical trials is understudied. Nevertheless, the currently available cancer clinical trial decision-making literature suggests a multitude of factors that influence the outcomes of the decision to accept or decline clinical trial participation, as well as the psychosocial consequences of decisional regret, pressures, and satisfaction.

Implications for Nursing: The decision-making process of cancer clinical trials is a fertile area for research and, subsequently, evidence-based interventions. Oncology nurses are in a position to facilitate the process and to relieve the pressures patients perceive regarding decision making for cancer clinical trials that will benefit individuals and, ultimately, society.

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