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Cancer Survivors Express Concerns About Seeing Primary Care Physicians For Follow-Up Care

Nearly one-third of office visits for are handled by , yet this study finds survivors have concerns about seeing their primary care physician for -related follow-up care.

Exploring survivor preferences through in-depth interviews with 42 , researchers found 52 percent expressed strong preferences to receive follow-up from their . They described several barriers to the primary care physician’s engagement in follow-up, including:

  1. lack of cancer expertise,
  2. limited or no involvement with original , and
  3. lack of care continuity.

Only one-third of participants (38 percent) believed there was a role for primary care clinicians in cancer follow-up care, suggesting these opportunities:

  1. performing routine preventive screening tests,
  2. supplementing cancer-related specialist care, and
  3. providing follow-up medical care when “enough time had passed” or the survivors felt they could reintegrate into the noncancer population.

These findings, the authors assert, point to a need for primary care to engage meaningfully in the case management of the growing population of . They call for future research and interventions that address both patient and patient-perceived physician knowledge gaps related to cancer follow-up care.

“Adult Cancer Survivors Discuss Follow-up in Primary Care: ‘Not What I Want, But Maybe What I Need’”
By Shawna V. Hudson, PhD
The Cancer Institute of New Jersey, New Brunswick


September/October 2012 Annals of Family Medicine

American Academy of Family Physicians