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J Clin Oncol. 2009 Jul 10;27(20):3338-45. doi: 10.1200/JCO.2008.20.4883. Epub 2009 Apr 20.

Primary care physicians' views of routine follow-up care of cancer survivors.

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Department of Family and Community Medicine, University of Toronto, Canada.



Routine follow-up of adult cancer survivors is an important clinical and health service issue. Because of a lack of evidence supporting advantages of long-term follow-up care in oncology clinics, there is increasing interest for the locus of this care to be provided by primary care physicians (PCPs). However, current Canadian PCP views on this issue have been largely unknown.


A mail survey of a random sample of PCPs across Canada, stratified by region and proximity to urban centers, was conducted. Views on routine follow-up of adult cancer survivors and modalities to facilitate PCPs in providing this care were determined.


A total of 330 PCPs responded (adjusted response rate, 51.7%). After completion of active treatment, PCPs were willing to assume exclusive responsibility for routine follow-up care after 2.4 +/- 2.3 years had elapsed for prostate cancer, 2.6 +/- 2.6 years for colorectal cancer, 2.8 +/- 2.5 years for breast cancer, and 3.2 +/- 2.7 years for lymphoma. PCPs already providing this care were willing to provide exclusive care sooner. The most useful modalities PCPs felt would assist them in assuming exclusive responsibility for follow-up cancer care were (1) a patient-specific letter from the specialist, (2) printed guidelines, (3) expedited routes of rereferral, and (4) expedited access to investigations for suspected recurrence.


With appropriate information and support in place, PCPs reported being willing to assume exclusive responsibility for the follow-up care of adult cancer survivors. Insights gained from this survey may ultimately help guide strategies in providing optimal care to these patients.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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