GP involvement after a cancer diagnosis; patients’ call to improve decision support

Shared decision making (SDM) is considered important for personalised cancer care. Increased general practitioner (GP) involvement after a diagnosis is advocated for to improve SDM. This study aimed to explore cancer patients perceived need for GP involvement in general and SDM cancer care, and whether they actually experienced GP involvement. 59% of respondents expressed the need for GP involvement in cancer care. Of these patients, 79% actually experienced GP involvement. Regarding GP involvement in SDM, respondents most commonly perceived GP responsibilities to be; to listen to patient’s concerns and considerations, to check patient’s understanding of information, to discuss patient’s life priorities and the consequences of treatment options on these priorities, and to create awareness of the patient’s role in decision making. Despite this, less than half of respondents reported their GP providing this support. Overall, the majority of cancer patients expressed a desire for active GP involvement in cancer care, however GP involvement in SDM is presently insufficient. GPs must be made aware of patients’ needs and enabled to support their cancer patients in both general cancer care and SDM.

 

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