Supplementing factual information with patient narratives in the cancer screening context: a qualitative study of acceptability and preferences

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Abstract

Objective

To explore people's responses to narrative information in the context of colorectal cancer screening.

Design

Nineteen in-depth interviews were conducted with men and women (aged 45–59). Participants were given two types of colorectal screening information to read: factual and narrative. Participants gave their views on both types of information. Data were analysed using Framework Analysis.

Results

The most frequent responses to the narrative information were that they were reassuring, made colorectal screening more vivid, participants could relate to the people in the stories and they liked the range of narratives presented. Despite the narrative information being seen as more persuasive by some, this was not regarded as manipulative or negative. Both types of information were seen as equally credible. Participants felt a combination of facts and narratives would be useful when considering an offer of colorectal cancer screening.

Conclusion

Overall, participants were positive about the addition of narrative information to the currently provided factual information about colorectal cancer screening. Supplementing existing factual information with narrative information may provide participants with a more complete understanding of participation in colorectal cancer screening when considering an offer to be screened.

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