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Urol Oncol. 2013 Aug;31(6):727-32. doi: 10.1016/j.urolonc.2011.06.002. Epub 2011 Jul 20.

Primary care perspectives on prostate cancer survivorship: implications for improving quality of care.

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Dow Division of Health Services Research, Department of Urology, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI 48109, USA.



Primary care providers often care for men with prostate cancer due to its prolonged clinical course and an increasing number of survivors. However, their attitudes and care patterns are inadequately studied. In this context, we surveyed primary care providers regarding the scope of their prostate cancer survivorship care.


The 2006 Early Detection and Screening for Prostate Cancer Knowledge, Attitudes and Practice Survey conducted by the Michigan Public Health Institute investigated the beliefs and practice patterns of primary care providers in Michigan. We evaluated responses from 902 primary care providers regarding the timing and content of their prostate cancer survivorship care and relationships with specialty care.


Two-thirds (67.6%) of providers cared for men during and after prostate cancer treatment. Providers routinely inquired about incontinence, impotence and bowel problems (83.3%), with a few (14.2%) using surveys to measure symptoms. However, only a minority felt 'very comfortable' managing the side effects of prostate cancer treatment. Clear plans (76.1%) and details regarding management of treatment complications (65.2%) from treating specialists were suboptimal. Nearly one-half (45.1%) of providers felt it was equally appropriate for them and treating specialists to provide prostate cancer survivorship care.


Primary care providers reported that prostate cancer survivorship care is prevalent in their practice, yet few felt very comfortable managing side effects of prostate cancer treatment. To improve quality of care, implementing prostate cancer survivorship care plans across specialties, or transferring primary responsibility to primary care providers through survivorship guidelines, should be considered.


Attitudes; Knowledge; Practice patterns; Primary care; Prostate cancer; Survivorship

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