Decision aids for cancer survivors’ engagement with survivorship care services after primary treatment: a systematic review

Yu Ke, Hanzhang Zhou, Raymond Javan Chan, Alexandre Chan

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

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Purpose: To elucidate existing decision aids (DAs) in supporting cancer survivors’ decisions to engage in cancer survivorship care services after primary treatment. Secondary objectives are to assess the DA acceptability, impact of DAs, and implementation barriers. 

Methods: Databases (PubMed, Embase, PsycINFO, CINAHL) were searched to collect publications from inception through September 2021. Studies describing the development or evaluation of DAs used for survivorship care services after primary cancer treatment were included. Article selection and critical appraisal were conducted independently by two authors. 

Results: We included 16 studies that described 13 DAs and addressed multiple survivorship care domains: prevention of recurrence/new cancers in Hodgkin lymphoma survivors and breast cancer gene mutation carriers, family building options, health insurance plans, health promotion (substance use behavior, cardiovascular disease risk reduction), advanced care planning, and post-treatment follow-up intensity. The electronic format was used to design most DAs for self-administration. The content presentation covered decisional context, options, and value clarification exercises. DAs were acceptable and associated with higher knowledge but presented inconclusive decisional outcomes. Implementation barriers included lack of design features for connectivity to care, low self-efficacy, and low perceived DA usefulness among healthcare professionals. Other survivor characteristics included age, literacy, preferred timing, and setting. 

Conclusions: A diverse range of DAs exists in survivorship care services engagement with favorable knowledge outcomes. Future work should clarify the impact of DAs on decisional outcomes. 

Implications for Cancer Survivors: DA characterization and suggestions for prospective developers could enhance support for cancer survivors encountering complex decisions throughout the survivorship continuum.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages30
JournalJournal of Cancer Survivorship
Early online date7 Jul 2022
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 7 Jul 2022


  • Cancer
  • Decision aids
  • Decisional support tool
  • Oncology
  • Shared decision making
  • Survivorship


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