Practice, preferences, and practical tips from primary care physicians to improve the care of cancer survivors

Cancer survivors have complex medical needs which would benefit from close collaboration between oncology teams and the patient’s primary care provider (PCP), as they transfer back to primary care. However, a number of barriers prevent PCPs from becoming fully involved in survivorship care. A recent study sought to assess the experiences of PCPs with a view to improving their role in survivorship care. The results indicated that whilst 94% of PCPs were involved in survivorship care, only 25% felt adequately prepared to do so. The primary barriers reported to providing survivorship care were uncertainty about care delegation and a lack of education. Almost all PCPs felt that oncologists and PCPs should share responsibility for survivorship care, there was no consensus regarding who should provide cancer specific care. Furthermore, almost all PCPs wanted access to a survivorship care plan as part of their communication with oncology teams, but access was rarely provided. This study highlights PCPs willingness to engage in survivorship care but educational programs, resources and improved channels of communication are vital to facilitating greater levels of preparedness.

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