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Psychooncology. 1998 Sep-Oct;7(5):436-9.

Patients' views of routine hospital follow-up: a qualitative study of women with breast cancer in remission.

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University of Oxford, Department of Primary Health Care, Institute of Health Sciences, UK.



To investigate the experience of specialist hospital follow-up among 109 women with breast cancer in remission.


Qualitative interviews explored views of follow-up at an outpatient clinic.


Continuity of care and an unrushed consultation were considered to be both desirable and efficient. There were concerns that discontinuity led to a lack of personal and case familiarity and communication difficulties. Access to cancer expertise, the availability of diagnostic tests and specialist facilities were valued features of hospital follow-up, and further analysis indicated that this was particularly important in the early stages of follow-up.


A preference for continuity of care may suggest that GP follow-up would be preferred, but access to specialist services is valued and may be of particular importance during the early stages of follow-up. The diversity of patients' needs during follow-up must be recognised when formulating policy.

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