Background and objectives: Primary care providers (PCPs) are often involved in the care of cancer survivors. This study asked PCPs about their role in the follow-up care of breast and colorectal cancer patients and elicited opinions on improving the transfer of care from oncologists to PCPs.
Methods: A total of 175 PCPs in a large health care system with an electronic medical record system were mailed a questionnaire that addressed (1) their comfort and confidence regarding surveillance for cancer recurrence, (2) when patients should be seen in primary care, (3) evaluation of the transfer of care, (4) potential problems with that process, and (5) suggestions for improving that process.
Results: The response rate was 75.4%. Overall, 52% were comfortable having responsibility for surveillance of cancer recurrence, and 43% were confident they are following standard guidelines for cancer recurrence. Both of the aforementioned measures increased with years of practice. More than half rated the current transfer of care from oncologist to PCP as fair or poor. The most common problems identified were uncertainty regarding the type (62.6% for breast, 56.5% for colorectal), frequency (72.5%, 66.4%), and duration (74.8%, 67.2%) of surveillance testing.
Conclusions: Levels of comfort, confidence, and satisfaction were generally low. PCPs need more specific guidance regarding surveillance for cancer recurrence.