Follow-up care for cancer survivors: views of the younger adult

Br J Cancer. 2009 Aug 18;101(4):561-7. doi: 10.1038/sj.bjc.6605213. Epub 2009 Jul 28.


Background: Since the launch of the National Cancer Survivorship Initiative, there has been a surge of interest surrounding the value and organisation of long-term follow-up care after cancer treatment. We report the views of 309 adult cancer survivors (aged 18-45 years) on provision of follow-up and preferences for care.

Methods: A total of 207 survivors completed questionnaires before and after routine consultant-led follow-up appointments and 102 were recruited by post. Measures of health status (including late effects, perceived vulnerability to late effects and quality of life), reasons for attending follow-up (clinical and supportive), issues to be discussed at follow-up and preferences for different models of care were assessed.

Results: In all, 59% of the survivors reported experiencing one or more cancer-related health problems. Survivors rated clinical reasons for attending follow-up more highly than supportive reasons (P<0.001), although nutritional advice and counselling were considered useful (60 and 47%, respectively). Those still receiving scheduled follow-up appointments did not discuss the range of issues intended with 'late effects' and 'fertility', which were particularly under-discussed. Hospital rather than GP follow-up was more highly rated.

Conclusion: Survivors value the clinical reassurance currently provided by consultant-led care. However, supportive needs are not systematically addressed. Multi-disciplinary services are recommended to meet supportive needs in addition to clinical care.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Continuity of Patient Care*
  • Delivery of Health Care / methods
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Health Status
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasms / psychology*
  • Neoplasms / therapy*
  • Quality of Life*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Survivors / psychology*
  • Young Adult