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Health Services


Magdeline Aagard


Each year millions of people face the medical decision-making cycle that comes with a diagnosis of cancer. For patients and their families, this can be a rollercoaster of confusion and fear. Researchers have indicated that the complexity of the decision-making process is underrepresented in the current approach of informed decision-making. The purpose of this study was to add to scientifically-validated research expanding the identification of factors that influence decision-making for individuals diagnosed with cancer. Fuzzy trace theory (FTT) is the dual process memory theory used as the framework for this study. Qualitative data were collected using semistructured interviews with 10 participants. The sampling strategy included purposeful sampling and snowball or chain sampling. The audio-recorded interviews were transcribed and analyzed. Software tools were used to aid in the creation of word mapping and clusters and a naming structure emerged. A comprehensive thematic analysis was completed. Participants detailed experiences with family and social dynamics, psychological or emotional stress, external influencing factors to the decision-making process, and experiences with cancer advertising. This research can create positive social change through the advancement of scientifically-validated research to support patients during the decision-making process.