Impact of shared care program in follow-up of childhood cancer survivors: An intervention study
With the growing rate of childhood cancer cure and the risks of sequelae, long-term follow-up (FU) of survivors is a central issue. Several models have been proven far from satisfactory. Shared care FU is the result of collaboration between general practitioners (GPs) and cancer centers. We sought to demonstrate the feasibility of setting up a shared care program based on the patient-centered education of GPs and to evaluate the impact of this model in an intervention study.
We compared the FU care achievement in two childhood cancer survivor cohorts in the same pediatric oncology center, (i) control group (n = 134) and (ii) intervention study cohort (n = 137), after setting up the program.
The rate of survivors answering the survey and the rate of patients involved in FU by their GPs were higher in intervention study cohort than in baseline one (132/137 vs. 72/134 and 110/132 vs. 13/72; P ≤ 0.0001). The lack of any FU was definitely lower (10/132 vs. 18/72; P = 0.001) in the intervention study cohort.
In this shared care program, survivors overcame distrust in their GP's knowledge and entered the FU program after their GPs had been involved in patient-centered education. Personalized and incentive-based guidance was very useful in helping survivors to adhere to FU. Support of a dedicated long-term FU team was very useful. A nationwide organization, consideration of special needs in subgroups of survivors and sustained funding are needed to adjust the program in the very long term.