Recruiting family dyads facing thoracic cancer surgery: Challenges and lessons learned from a smoking cessation intervention

Karen Kane McDonnell, Patricia J. Hollen, Janie Heath, Jeannette O. Andrews

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Purpose: Persistent smoking after a cancer diagnosis has adverse effects. Most smoking cessation interventions focus on individual behaviors; however, family members who smoke are major barriers to success. This article describes challenges and lessons learned related to recruitment and retention to a longitudinal, dyadic-centered smoking cessation intervention study for individuals confronting a new diagnosis of thoracic cancer and their family members who smoke. Methods: A prospective, one-group repeated measures, mixed-method feasibility study measured recruitment, retention, adherence, and acceptability over a 6-month period in a thoracic surgery clinic at a university cancer center. A multidisciplinary, multi-component decision aid-"Tobacco Free Family"-was used to intervene with the dyads. Study recruitment occurred preoperatively with a thoracic surgery team member assessing smoking status. Results: During the 6-month recruitment period, 50 patients who smoked were screened, and 18 eligible families were approached to participate. Sixteen participants (8 dyads) enrolled. Patients were all male, and participating family members were all female-either spouses or long-term girlfriends. Others types of family members declined participation. Conclusion: Recruitment was lower than anticipated (44%), retention was high (100%), and maximizing convenience was the most important retention strategy. Oncology nurses can assess the smoking status of patients and family members, facilitate understanding about the benefits of cessation, refer those willing to stop to expert resources, and help motivate those unwilling to quit. Research is needed to continue developing strategies to help patients with thoracic cancer and their families facing surgery as an impetus for stopping smoking. Novel intervention delivery and communication need further exploration.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)199-206
Number of pages8
JournalEuropean Journal of Oncology Nursing
StatePublished - Mar 6 2015

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2015 Elsevier Ltd.


  • Decision aid
  • Dyads
  • Family intervention
  • Recruitment and retention
  • Smoking cessation
  • Thoracic neoplasms

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology(nursing)


Dive into the research topics of 'Recruiting family dyads facing thoracic cancer surgery: Challenges and lessons learned from a smoking cessation intervention'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this