• cancer;
  • continuity of care;
  • qualitative;
  • case studies

We aimed to develop ideas on continuity of cancer care. In-depth qualitative interviews were conducted with 28 people. Seven had cancer. Each person with cancer nominated a close person and a primary and secondary health care professional. We examined from four perspectives: experiences of the initial diagnosis; subsequent treatment; views on continuity of care; information given about the illness; psychological/physical impact of cancer and communication with professionals, family and friends. Perceived continuity of care was influenced by the actions of patients', involvement of close contacts and engagement in shared decision making. Additionally communication between primary and secondary care, the role of various health professionals and hospital administrative systems strongly influenced continuity of care. Informational, management and relational continuity have been previously described. Our data uncovered the effect of patients' actions and the involvement of close friends and families on continuity of cancer care. People with cancer should be enabled to influence continuity of their care. Full recognition of the role of health professionals, different approaches to sharing information with patients and tightening of hospital administrative systems should also be considered.