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Cancer Treat Rev. 2004 Feb;30(1):19-35.

Follow-up care of patients treated for breast cancer: a structured review.

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Department of Health Sciences and Clinical Evaluation, University of York, York YO10 5DD, UK.


Breast cancer follow-up services vary, with little evidence to support which practice is best. A systematic review methodology was employed to identify and integrate primary research on the effectiveness of follow-up services. From 4418 articles identified by searches, 38 were eligible for review inclusion. Data were not sufficiently homogenous to integrate statistically, however the following patterns of findings were observed: patient survival and quality of life were not affected by intensity of follow-up or location of care; patients held positive attitudes towards follow-up but psychological distress was consistently high regardless of location of services; few studies assessed patient involvement in treatment choices; studies' research quality was poor with inadequate measures of effectiveness or research designs. There is insufficient primary empirical evidence to draw broad conclusions regarding best practice for breast cancer follow-up care in terms of (a) patient involvement in care, (b) reductions in morbidity, and (c) cost effectiveness of service provision.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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