Breast care nurse–led survivorship care plan (SCP) consultations of patients were significantly more detailed then SCP consultations conducted by physicians, according to results from a study of retrospective clinical records that was published in Clinical Journal of Oncology Nursing.

The investigators audited 160 SCP records of patients with early-stage breast cancer in Australia. Each patient was evaluated by both a physician and a nurse using an SCP between 2016 and 2017.

The majority of patients had cancers that were node-negative (70%), American Joint Committee on Cancer stage IA (58%), ER-positive/PR-positive (82%), and were diagnosed after menopause (76%). Most patients underwent breast-conserving surgery (83%) and received endocrine (91%) and radiation (72%) therapies.

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Many women reported health problems, with a median of 3 concerns reported per patient (range, 0-5).

The evaluations conducted by breast care nurses reported a significantly higher (P <.001) percentage of patients as having issues with menopause (74% vs 52%), mental health (56% vs 11%), lifestyle (62% vs 19%), bone health (21% vs 11%), and sexuality (37% vs 4%). Breast care nurses were significantly more likely (P <.001) to refer patients for mental health, lifestyle, or sexuality follow-up appointments.

A limitation of this study was that the time between evaluation appointments were long in some cases, indicating that some symptoms may not have been present at both evaluation time points.

The study authors concluded that evaluations performed by breast care nurses were significantly more detailed about hormonal symptoms, mental symptoms, lifestyle, bone health, and sexuality; and that nurses were more likely to refer patients for follow-up appointments then physicians.


Kozul C, Stafford L, Little R, et al. Breast cancer survivor symptoms: a comparison of physicians’ consultation records and nurse-led survivorship care plans. Clin J Oncol Nurs. 2020;24(3):E34-E42.