Do cancer patients benefit from short-term contact with a general practitioner following cancer treatment? A randomised, controlled study

Support Care Cancer. 2005 Nov;13(11):949-56. doi: 10.1007/s00520-005-0869-5. Epub 2005 Jul 16.


Goals of work: To investigate whether increased contact with the patient's general practitioner (GP) soon after cancer treatment can increase patient quality of life (QoL) and satisfaction with follow-up.

Patients and methods: A randomised controlled study with 91 patients from one Norwegian municipality. The intervention group got a 30-min invited consultation with the patient's GP and an invitation to further GP follow-up. Quality of life and patient satisfaction with diagnosis, treatment and overall care were measured with validated instruments.

Main results: Relatives' satisfaction with care increased over 6 months in the intervention group (P = 0.018), but otherwise, there was no difference between the intervention and control groups concerning QoL, satisfaction with care or number of consultations. Patient satisfaction with care showed a tendency to increase when treatment intent was curative. Some functional QoL measures and satisfaction tended to increase during the first 6 months after treatment. Free text comments suggested that some patients appreciated the contact with their GP.

Conclusion: Some cancer patients benefit from follow-up by their GP. The way to perform this kind of follow-up in primary care, and who these cancer patients are, should be further studied. Short follow-up time and an urban setting may have contributed to the lack of group differences in our study, but patients treated for cancer may have limited need for follow-up as long as they feel well and the situation remains stable.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Continuity of Patient Care*
  • Family Practice*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasms / psychology*
  • Neoplasms / therapy
  • Norway
  • Patient Satisfaction*
  • Physician-Patient Relations*
  • Quality of Life
  • Referral and Consultation
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Time Factors