Development of FamilyTalk: an Intervention to Support Communication and Educate Families About Colorectal Cancer Risk

  • Deborah J. BowenEmail author
  • Travis Hyams
  • Mercy Laurino
  • Timothy Woolley
  • Stacey Cohen
  • Kathleen A. Leppig
  • Gail Jarvik


IFamily members of individuals with colorectal cancer (CRC) may be at increased risk of developing the disease. However, the majority of CRC can be prevented through colonoscopy screening and family members may not be aware if they are recommended to pursue earlier screening because of their family history of CRC. As such, tools must be developed to effectively communicate potential changes to the recommended age for colonoscopy screening and other important CRC-related information to family members. We modified and adapted a successful intervention for families with melanoma to be appropriate for families with CRC to increase communication and screening in family members. The multistep process included the following: (1) developing a paper version of the intervention, (2) piloting the paper version among families with CRC, (3) developing the web-based version, and (4) testing the intervention for usability. Qualitative data was collected and analyzed for pilot testing. Usability testing utilized both qualitative and quantitative data. Patients with CRC liked the paper version and had multiple suggestions, including adding a better introduction, sections on genetics and family history, and clearer communication assistance. The web-based tool was well received and improved upon the linear book format with links, better section instructions, and more proactive communication tools for families. These processes produced materials that satisfied individuals from various families with assistance and support for communicating about CRC. Evaluating the effects of the tools in rigorous research projects is the next step.


Colorectal cancer Family Communication 



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Copyright information

© American Association for Cancer Education 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Bioethics and HumanitiesUniversity of WashingtonSeattleUSA
  2. 2.Department of Behavioral and Community Health, School of Public HealthUniversity of MarylandCollege ParkUSA
  3. 3.Genetics and Cancer Prevention ProgramsSeattle Cancer Care AllianceSeattleUSA
  4. 4.IEQ technologies, IncSpringfieldUSA
  5. 5.Division of OncologyUniversity of WashingtonSeattleUSA
  6. 6.Clinical Research DivisionFred Hutchinson Cancer Research CenterSeattleUSA
  7. 7.Genetic ServicesKaiser Permanente of WashingtonSeattleUSA
  8. 8.Department of Medicine, Division of Medical GeneticsUniversity of WashingtonSeattleUSA
  9. 9.Department of Genome SciencesUniversity of WashingtonSeattleUSA

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