Consent to donate surgical biospecimens for research: Perceptions of people with colorectal cancer

Anne Marjorie Williams, Judy Allen, Nikolajs Zeps, Catherine Pienaar, Caroline Bulsara, Leanne Monterosso

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Biospecimens for cancer research are commonly sought from people who undergo surgery for a new diagnosis of cancer, and the demand for these biospecimens is increasing. Objective: The objective of this study was to explore the perceptions of people with colorectal cancer regarding the impact of an opt-in model of consent for biospecimen donation. Methods: The qualitative method of Grounded Theory was used, and data were gathered through digitally recorded semistructured interviews with 18 participants. Data were analyzed using the constant comparative method to the descriptive level. Results: Four major categories were identified describing the response to the consent process used for donating tissue for research purposes. These were as follows: consent is "no big deal" compared with the diagnosis of cancer; helping others; trusting the surgeon; and information related to donation of biospecimens. Conclusions: Results from this study indicate that the achievement of ideal informed and voluntary consent is difficult when patients are confronted with the trauma of newly diagnosed illness. Innovative approaches are implicated to obtain consent while protecting the autonomy and dignity of patients. Implications for Practice: The results from this study can contribute to further development of processes for the donation of biospecimens for research purposes that respect the needs and views of patients.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)221-227
Number of pages7
JournalCancer Nursing
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - May 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Biobanks
  • Biospecimens
  • Cancer
  • Consent
  • Donation
  • Ethics genetic law
  • Psychological
  • Research

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