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J Clin Oncol. 2010 Feb 10;28(5):878-83. doi: 10.1200/JCO.2009.25.6107. Epub 2009 Dec 28.

Physician preferences and knowledge gaps regarding the care of childhood cancer survivors: a mailed survey of pediatric oncologists.

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University of Chicago, Section of Pediatric Hematology, Oncology and Stem Cell Transplantation, 5841 S Maryland Ave, MC 4060, Chicago, IL 60637, USA.


PURPOSE Little is known about physicians' attitudes and knowledge regarding the health care needs of childhood cancer survivors (CCS). We sought to obtain pediatric cancer physicians' self-reported attitudes and knowledge regarding this population. METHODS A mailed survey was sent to 1,159 pediatric oncologists in the United States. Results A total of 655 surveys were returned (ie, 57% response rate). Median age of respondents was 47 years (range, 31 to 82 years); 57% were men. Respondents practiced for a median 14 years (range, 1 to 50 years) and reported seeing a median of 21 patients per week (range, 0 to 250 patients per week). When comfort levels in caring for CCS were described (ie, 1 = very uncomfortable; 7 = very comfortable), respondents were most comfortable with survivors < or = 21 years (mean +/- standard deviation, 6.2 +/- 1.3 level), were less comfortable (5.0 +/- 1.5 level) with those older than 21 years but less than 30 years old, and were uncomfortable with CCS > or = 30 years (2.9 +/- 1.7 level). In response to a clinical vignette of a 29-year-old woman treated with mantle radiation for Hodgkin's lymphoma at 16 years of age, and on the basis of available guidelines, 34% of respondents did not appropriately recommend yearly breast cancer surveillance; 43% of respondents did not appropriately recommend cardiac surveillance; and 24% of respondents did not appropriately recommend yearly thyroid surveillance. Those with greater self-reported familiarity with available long-term follow-up (LTFU) guidelines (odds ratio [OR], 1.33; 95% CI, 1.15 to 1.54) and with receipt of training in the care of CCS (OR, 1.73; 95% CI, 1.18 to 2.52) were more likely to have answered all three questions correctly. CONCLUSION Pediatric oncologists express a range of preferences with regard to LTFU of CCS. Many appear unfamiliar with LTFU surveillance guidelines.

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