Conflicts of interest: none to declare.
Survivorship care after breast cancer: Follow-up practices of Australian health professionals and attitudes to a survivorship care plan
Article first published online: 11 MAY 2010
© 2010 Blackwell Publishing Asia Pty Ltd
Asia-Pacific Journal of Clinical Oncology
Volume 6, Issue 2, pages 116–125, June 2010
How to Cite
BRENNAN, M. E., BUTOW, P., SPILLANE, A. J. and BOYLE, F. M. (2010), Survivorship care after breast cancer: Follow-up practices of Australian health professionals and attitudes to a survivorship care plan. Asia-Pacific Journal of Clinical Oncology, 6: 116–125. doi: 10.1111/j.1743-7563.2010.01286.x
- Issue published online: 11 JUN 2010
- Article first published online: 11 MAY 2010
- Accepted for publication 22 January 2010.
- breast cancer;
- follow up;
- shared care;
- survivorship care plan
Objective: The increasing number of breast cancer survivors and the complexity of follow-up care make the provision of high-quality survivorship care a challenge. This study explored the follow-up practices of health professionals and their attitudes to alternative models such as shared care and the use of a survivorship care plan.
Methods: Specialist oncologists (surgeons, medical and radiation oncologists) breast physicians and breast-care nurses completed an online survey.
Results: A total of 217 practitioners completed the survey, which was estimated to include 42.8% of oncologists treating breast cancer in Australia. One-third of responding specialists reported spending more than 25% of their clinical time providing follow-up care. They reported many positive aspects to follow-up consultations and viewed follow-up care as an important part of their clinical role but expressed concern about the sustainability of follow-up care in their practices. The follow-up intervals and recommendations were in line with national guidelines. The specialists were supportive of sharing follow-up care with primary-care physicians, breast physicians and breast-care nurses. Most professionals felt that a survivorship care plan would improve care and said they would use a proforma.
Conclusion: The oncologists felt that follow-up care was an important part of their role and they were supportive of the concepts of shared care programs and a survivorship care plan. Input from consumers is required to evaluate the acceptability of these alternative models and to assess ways of implementing these changes to work towards a more comprehensive and sustainable method of delivering survivorship care.