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Health Communication in Families

18 Years
Open (Enrolling)
Lung Cancer, Melanoma, Skin Cancer

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Trial Information

Health Communication in Families

In large part due to the advent of genetic testing, families have recently become a more
central focus in cancer prevention. Given the high concordance of health behaviors within
families (Kristeller et al., 1996), there is interest in developing family-wide behavior
change interventions to reduce cancer risk. A cancer diagnosis represents a "teachable
moment," in which a diagnosis may prompt health behavior change. Although this phenomenon
has been observed among cancer survivors, it has not been examined among a patient's family
members. Several critical questions exist about how families understand and communicate with
regard to cancer risk information and what family processes facilitate or impede health
behavior change. There is very little existent research in the area of cancer prevention
among family members of cancer patients. Results in this area could help us develop
interventions for family members who are motivated to make health behavior changes, and to
inform and guide others who may not be motivated at the time their family member is
diagnosed. Most importantly, the results could also help us intervene with family members of
those who have been diagnosed with cancers where genetic and lifestyle components are
important in the etiology of the illness, such as lung cancer and melanoma, and thus
first-degree family members would benefit from strong messages to adopt healthy lifestyles.
The research will rely on qualitative data collection and analysis. We will conduct
qualitative interviews with 20 pairs of melanoma patients and one adult son or daughter, and
20 pairs of lung cancer patients and one adult child/sibling/or spouse. More specifically,
for each pair of participants (i.e., the patient and his/her family member) we will conduct
three interviews: an individual interview with the patient, an individual interview with the
family member, and a joint interview where we will talk to the patient and family member at
the same time. We will analyze interview data with a qualitative data computer analysis
program, and identify themes and conclusions representing the core ideas in our data.

Inclusion Criteria:

- Lung cancer patients must have a history of smoking.

- Family members of lung cancer patients must be active smokers in order to participate
in the study.

- All participants must be more than 18 years of age and be fluent in English.

- Patients must have received a diagnosis of either lung cancer or melanoma within the
past 3 to 18 months.

Type of Study:


Study Design:

Observational Model: Case-Only, Time Perspective: Prospective

Outcome Measure:

We will use data from our qualitative interviews to develop a family-focused assessment battery for examining risk perception and risk communication in families affected by cancer.

Outcome Time Frame:

7 years

Safety Issue:


Principal Investigator

Jamie Ostroff, PhD

Investigator Role:

Principal Investigator

Investigator Affiliation:

Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center


United States: Institutional Review Board

Study ID:




Start Date:

August 2003

Completion Date:

August 2013

Related Keywords:

  • Lung Cancer
  • Melanoma
  • Skin Cancer
  • Lung
  • skin
  • melanoma
  • Skin Neoplasms
  • Lung Neoplasms
  • Melanoma



Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center New York, New York  10021