Cancer survivors lack consistent follow-up care

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Consistent Follow-Up Care for Cancer Survivors Found Lacking
Consistent Follow-Up Care for Cancer Survivors Found Lacking

(HealthDay News) -- More effort is needed to improve the follow-up care of cancer survivors, according to research published online April 21 in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

Danielle Blanch-Hartigan, Ph.D., M.P.H., of the National Cancer Institute in Rockville, Md., and colleagues surveyed 1,130 oncologists and 1,020 primary care physicians (PCPs) to assess the practice of survivorship care for cancer patients.

The researchers found that a majority of oncologists (64 percent) reported always or almost always discussing recommendations for survivorship care with cancer survivors; fewer oncologists discussed providers for cancer-related and other follow-up care (32 percent) or provided a written survivorship care plan (less than 5 percent). Only 12 percent of PCPs regularly discussed survivorship care recommendations and provider responsibility with cancer survivors. Oncologists who reported having detailed training about late and long-term effects of cancer were more likely to provide written survivorship care plans (odds ratio [OR], 1.73; 95 percent confidence interval [CI], 1.22 to 2.44) and discuss survivorship care (OR, 2.02; 95 percent CI, 1.51 to 2.70). PCPs who received survivorship care plans from oncologists were more likely to report discussing survivorship with survivors (OR, 9.22; 95 percent CI, 5.74 to 14.82).

"These nationally representative data provide a useful benchmark to assess implementation of new efforts to improve the follow-up care of survivors," the authors write.

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