Long-term survivors of adult cancers and uptake of primary health services: a systematic review

Eur J Cancer. 2008 Jan;44(2):195-204. doi: 10.1016/j.ejca.2007.10.005. Epub 2007 Nov 26.


Aim: The aim of this paper is to systematically review the literature on the use of primary and community care services by long-term survivors of adult cancers.

Methods: We conducted a systematic search of eight databases and considered papers looking at primary care aspects of surviving cancer at least 3 years past diagnosis.

Results: Ten eligible papers in four categories: consultation rates in primary care, cancer screening, use of preventative services and chronic disease management. There was no conclusive evidence that cancer survivors have increased rates of consultation in primary care. The studies reported that cancer screening is well managed in survivors. Preventative and chronic care is worse in long-term colorectal cancer survivors compared with long-term breast cancer survivors and controls.

Conclusion: We found little research, especially outside the United States, relating to the care of long-term cancer survivors in primary care. Future work should examine screening for treatment-specific sequelae and the quality of care for co-morbid disease.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Chronic Disease
  • Community Health Services / statistics & numerical data*
  • Delivery of Health Care
  • Humans
  • Mass Screening / statistics & numerical data
  • Neoplasms / mortality
  • Neoplasms / therapy*
  • Patient Acceptance of Health Care / statistics & numerical data*
  • Primary Health Care / statistics & numerical data*
  • Survivors / statistics & numerical data*