Primary Outcome Measures:
- We will use data from our qualitative interviews to develop a family-focused assessment battery for examining risk perception and risk communication in families affected by cancer. [ Time Frame: 7 years ]
In large part due to the advent of genetic testing, families have recently become a more central focus in cancer prevention. Given the high concordance of health behaviors within families (Kristeller et al., 1996), there is interest in developing family-wide behavior change interventions to reduce cancer risk. A cancer diagnosis represents a "teachable moment," in which a diagnosis may prompt health behavior change. Although this phenomenon has been observed among cancer survivors, it has not been examined among a patient's family members. Several critical questions exist about how families understand and communicate with regard to cancer risk information and what family processes facilitate or impede health behavior change. There is very little existent research in the area of cancer prevention among family members of cancer patients. Results in this area could help us develop interventions for family members who are motivated to make health behavior changes, and to inform and guide others who may not be motivated at the time their family member is diagnosed. Most importantly, the results could also help us intervene with family members of those who have been diagnosed with cancers where genetic and lifestyle components are important in the etiology of the illness, such as lung cancer and melanoma, and thus first-degree family members would benefit from strong messages to adopt healthy lifestyles. The research will rely on qualitative data collection and analysis. We will conduct qualitative interviews with 20 pairs of melanoma patients and one adult son or daughter, and 20 pairs of lung cancer patients and one adult child/sibling/or spouse. More specifically, for each pair of participants (i.e., the patient and his/her family member) we will conduct three interviews: an individual interview with the patient, an individual interview with the family member, and a joint interview where we will talk to the patient and family member at the same time. We will analyze interview data with a qualitative data computer analysis program, and identify themes and conclusions representing the core ideas in our data.