Research Round-up – July 2019 – Ca-PRI special Dr Robin Urquhart
In this episode of Research Roundup, our second in a special series recorded at the 2019 Cancer and Primary Care Research International Network (Ca-PRI) Conference held in Toronto in May, Dr Kristi Milley sits down with Dr. Robin Urquhart, an Assistant Professor and Ramia Scientist within the Department of Surgery at Dalhousie University, Canada. At the conference, Robin gave a presentation entitled ‘Primary care involvement following cancer treatment: a population-based survey’. Robin discusses her research on shared care and survivorship plans which involved a nation-wide survey of cancer survivors’ experiences with survivorship care. There is a growing body of research which has shown that primary care physicians are able to effectively implement survivorship care with equivalent outcomes to oncology led care. However, there is no established model of follow-up care practices and shared care has not been widely implemented in a consistent manner. This often results in duplication of care and the absence of recommended care, due to a lack of communication and collaboration between providers. Robin also talks about some of the results from the survey. Surprisingly, people were generally unlikely to seek help for their needs; only 25-30% of people sought help for physical needs (e.g. pain, discomfort) with a much smaller proportion seeking help for emotional needs (e.g. anxiety) and fewer again seeking help for practical needs (e.g., returning to work). Robin advocates strongly for more resources aimed at helping cancer survivors, especially around practical issues such as returning to work following treatment. Robin argues for cultural change within the system, stating that we no longer need more evidence for the effectiveness of primary care led survivorship care. Rather, we need to look toward implementing strategies to lessen the barriers, and leverage the facilitators, for the change toward shared models of care and primary care physician-led survivorship care.