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J Cancer Res Clin Oncol. 2017 May;143(5):895-904. doi: 10.1007/s00432-017-2343-4. Epub 2017 Feb 10.

The role of the general practitioner in cancer care: a survey of the patients' perspective.

Author information

1
Working Group Integrative Oncology, Dr. Senckenberg Chronomedical Institute, J.W. Goethe University, Theodor-Stern-Kai 7, 60590, Frankfurt, Germany.
2
National Association of Patients after Laryngectomy, Thomas-Mann-Straße 40, 53111, Bonn, Germany.
3
Institute for Education for General Practitioners within the German Association of General Practitioners, Rumpler-Straße 2, 51149, Cologne, Germany.
4
Working Group Integrative Oncology, Dr. Senckenberg Chronomedical Institute, J.W. Goethe University, Theodor-Stern-Kai 7, 60590, Frankfurt, Germany. huebner@med.uni-frankfurt.de.

Abstract

PURPOSE:

Modern cancer care is provided in highly specialized structures as certificated centres and comprehensive cancer center, as well as specialized practices. In contrast, the position of the general practitioner (GP) is less well characterised and there is a lack of information about his importance in the care for cancer patients. The aim of our survey was to assess the role of GPs in German cancer care from patients' perspective.

METHODS:

In several steps we developed a standardized anonymous questionnaire in cooperation with the German Association of General Practitioners and the Federal Association of German Self-Help Groups. This questionnaire was used in a print and an online version and distributed by the self-help organizations to their members.

RESULTS:

Seven hundred and forty participants took part in the survey, 66.5% women and 30.1% men. 71% had visited the GP during cancer therapy and 34.5% discussed decisions concerning diagnostics and therapy with him. The most relevant reasons to visit the GP during cancer therapy were to get a blood test (63.3%), comorbidities (42.7%) and complaints and side effects (38.3%). For the latter, most often a detailed discussion ensued (57%), fooled by a prescription (37.7%). In 63.4% the GP offered support when patients had some questions or worries concerning their cancer. Yet, 17% of the patients reported that the GP did not try to help. 85.5% of the participants thought that it is important that their GP is informed about the therapy on a regular basis. For 77.0%, a simultaneous care provided by the GP is important or very important.

CONCLUSION:

Our survey points to the importance of the GP during cancer therapy from the patient's point of view. Patients want their GP to take an active part in the cancer therapy. Furthermore, early integration of the GP may also enhance early integration of palliative care and also help family members and caregivers. A strategy to integrate GPs is the establishment of shared care models, in which GPs are supported by specialists and get additional training in cancer care.

KEYWORDS:

Cancer care; Comorbidities; General practitioner; Patient; Shared care; Side effects

PMID:
28188361
DOI:
10.1007/s00432-017-2343-4
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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