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.