Familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP) is an inherited condition that requires prophylactic surgery (colectomy) followed by a lifetime program of endoscopic surveillance to prevent colorectal cancer. Patients are normally free of symptoms before surgery but a majority report problems related to bowel function postoperatively.
The aim of the study was to gain a deeper understanding of how FAP affects life by exploring patients' view of what it is like living with the illness and being committed to a lifelong screening program.
Three focus group interviews were conducted, and data were analyzed using descriptive qualitative content analysis.
The analysis resulted in two categories related to the participants' view of living with FAP. The first category was associated with concerns related to the hereditary and lifelong nature of the disease as well as to the prophylactic surgery and the second category was related to patients' ways of managing life.
Most participants expressed unmet needs, such as lack of healthcare providers with good knowledge about FAP, practical and psychosocial support, FAP educational programs, and organized meetings with other persons with the condition.
Implications for Practice:
One important aspect of living with FAP shared by the participants concerned ways of managing life concerns, something that healthcare providers caring for patients with FAP should identify and support. Furthermore, continuity of care by health care providers with good knowledge about FAP can be an important way of reducing patient concerns.