SV. Hudson, SM. Miller, J Hemler, JM. Ferrante, J Lyle, KC Oeffinger and RS. DiPaola. Adult Cancer Survivors Discuss Follow-up in Primary Care: ‘Not What I Want, But Maybe What I Need’. Ann Fam Med Sep/Oct 2012, 10(5):418-427.
Nearly one-third of office visits for cancer are handled by primary care physicians. Yet, few studies examine patient perspectives on these physicians’ roles in their cancer follow-up care or their care preferences.
We explored survivor preferences through qualitative, semistructured, in-depth interviews drawing on patients recruited from 2 National Cancer Institute-designated comprehensive cancer centers and 6 community hospitals. We recruited a purposive sample of early-stage breast and prostate cancer survivors aged 47 to 80 years, stratified by age, race, and length of time from and location of cancer treatment. Survivors were at least 2 years beyond completion of their active cancer treatment
Forty-two survivors participated in the study. Most participants expressed strong preferences to receive follow-up care from their cancer specialists (52%). They described the following barriers to the primary care physician’s engagement in follow-up care: (1) lack of cancer expertise, (2) limited or no involvement with original cancer care, and (3) lack of care continuity. Only one-third of participants (38%) believed there was a role for primary care in cancer follow-up care and suggested the following opportunities: (1) performing routine cancer-screening tests, (2) supplementing cancer and cancer-related specialist care, and (3) providing follow-up medical care when “enough time has passed” or the survivors felt that they could reintegrate into the noncancer population.
Survivors have concerns about seeing their primary care physician for cancer-related follow-up care. Research interventions to address these issues are necessary to enhance the quality of care received by cancer survivors