Title

Delivery of Survivorship Care by Primary Care Physicians: The Perspective of Breast Cancer Patients

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

2-20-2009

Abstract

Purpose

Most of the 182,460 women diagnosed with breast cancer in the United States this year will become long-term survivors. Helping these women transition from active treatment to survivorship is a challenge that involves both oncologists and primary care physicians (PCPs). This study aims to describe postmenopausal breast cancer survivors' (BCS) perceptions of PCP-related survivorship care. Patients and Methods

We conducted a cross-sectional survey of 300 BCSs seen in an outpatient breast oncology clinic at a large university hospital. The primary outcome measure was a seven-item self-reported measure on perceived survivorship care (Cronbach's α = .89). Multivariate regression analyses were used to identify factors associated with perceived care delivery. Results

Overall, BCSs rated PCP-related survivorship care as 65 out of 100 (standard deviation = 17). The areas of PCP-related care most strongly endorsed were general care (78%), psychosocial support (73%), and health promotion (73%). Fewer BCSs perceived their PCPs as knowledgeable about cancer follow-up (50%), late effects of cancer therapies (59%), or treating symptoms related to cancer or cancer therapies (41%). Only 28% felt that their PCPs and oncologists communicated well. In a multivariate regression analysis, nonwhite race and level of trust in the PCP were significantly associated with higher perceived level of PCP-related survivorship care (P = .001 for both). Conclusion

Although BCSs perceived high quality of general care provided by their PCPs, they were not as confident with their PCPs' ability to deliver cancer-specific survivorship care. Interventions need to be tested to improve oncology-primary care communication and PCP knowledge of cancer-specific survivorship care.

DOI

10.1200/JCO.2008.18.0679

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