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Caring for cancer survivors†
A survey of primary care physicians
Version of Record online: 4 SEP 2009
Copyright © 2009 American Cancer Society
Supplement: Cancer Survivorship Research: Mapping the New Challenges Atlanta, Georgia, Supplement to Cancer
Volume 115, Issue Supplement 18, pages 4409–4418, 15 September 2009
How to Cite
Bober, S. L., Recklitis, C. J., Campbell, E. G., Park, E. R., Kutner, J. S., Najita, J. S. and Diller, L. (2009), Caring for cancer survivors. Cancer, 115: 4409–4418. doi: 10.1002/cncr.24590
Presented at the Fourth Biennial Cancer Survivorship Research Conference entitled “Cancer Survivorship Research: Mapping the New Challenges,” Atlanta, Georgia, June 18-20, 2008.
- Issue online: 4 SEP 2009
- Version of Record online: 4 SEP 2009
- Manuscript Accepted: 19 MAY 2009
- Manuscript Revised: 8 APR 2009
- Manuscript Received: 14 JAN 2009
- long-term cancer survivor;
- multidimensional survivorship care;
- survivorship care plans;
- primary care physicians;
- physician survey
The number of long-term US cancer survivors is expected to double by the year 2050. Although primary care physicians (PCPs) provide the majority of care for long-term cancer survivors, to the authors' knowledge, few data to date have detailed PCP practice patterns, attitudes, and challenges in caring for long-term cancer survivors.
Self-administered surveys were mailed to 406 community- and academic-based general internal medicine physicians in Denver, Colorado. Survey development included in-depth physician interviews and pretesting. Of the 299 responses, 72 were ineligible; an analysis of the data from 227 surveys is presented.
The response rate was 76%. Community-based PCPs comprised 70% of completed surveys. Reported care patterns were assessed to create a multidimensional care score reflecting levels of attention to 4 areas of survivorship care: monitoring for cancer recurrence, management of late effects, sexual functioning, and mental health. Only 24% of PCPs met criteria for routinely providing more multidimensional survivorship care. More recent medical school graduates reported providing less multidimensional survivorship care when compared with their more experienced colleagues. Approximately 82% of PCPs believed that primary care guidelines for adult cancer survivors are not well defined, and 47% of PCPs cited inadequate preparation and lack of formal training in cancer survivorship as a problem when delivering care to long-term survivors.
Although PCPs provide the bulk of care for long-term survivors within the survivorship phase of the cancer trajectory, only a small subset have reported providing multidimensional survivorship care. Results underscore a need for substantially increased training in survivorship care to support the delivery of multidimensional primary care for long-term survivors. Cancer 2009;115(18 suppl):4409–18. © 2009 American Cancer Society.