Communicating cardiovascular risk to high-risk cancer survivors: a mixed-methods pilot study of a statin risk communication tool.

Research paper by Nirupa J NJ Raghunathan, Emily C EC Zabor, Nassim N Anderson, Kevin K Oeffinger, Emily S ES Tonorezos, Deborah D Korenstein

Indexed on: 15 Feb '20Published on: 12 Feb '20Published in: Journal of Cancer Survivorship


Childhood, adolescent, and young adult cancer survivors treated with radiation therapy (RT) may be unaware of their high cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk or how to mitigate it. Tools are needed to improve understanding. We developed and pilot-tested a risk communication tool for shared decision-making with survivors regarding CVD risk reduction with statin therapy. We included quantitative and qualitative arms to further tool development and testing. The statin risk communication tool was adapted from a previously validated tool. Patients were at increased risk for CVD due to history of chest RT and recruited to usual care and intervention arms. The post-visit survey included Likert-like scales to explore acceptability of the tool, knowledge questions, and a decisional conflict scale. This pilot study used descriptive statistics and was not powered for significance. Semi-structured interviews with intervention arm participants explored shared decision-making processes. Median participant (n = 46) age was 45. Most intervention patients (22/24, 92%) and 50% (11/22) of controls found statin information acceptable while 31% (7/22) of the control arm selected "not applicable" regarding information acceptability. Most participants were unaware of their personal CVD risk or potential statin side effects. In semi-structured interviews, participants found the tool is helpful to visualize risk and aid conversations. The risk communication tool was acceptable. Qualitative data suggested the tool improved decisional clarity and comfort. Poor knowledge of CVD and statins and poor recall of CVD risk conversation suggest a need to continue to optimize conversations regarding cardiovascular risk and statin therapy.