Purpose: We assessed cancer survivors' perceptions of the quality of their follow-up care.
Methods: We surveyed a population-based cohort of leukemia, bladder, and colorectal cancer survivors diagnosed 2 to 5 years previously in northern California (N = 623; participation rate, 69.2%; overall response rate, 49.2%). Data were collected between April 2003 and November 2004. Ten scales assessed survivors' perceptions of different aspects of care in the last 12 months, and an eleventh scale measured their overall ratings of care.
Results: On nine of the 11 scales, mean scores ranged from 88 to 97 on a 0 to 100 response format, indicating very positive experiences. The two areas where quality perceptions were lower were discussions about health promotion and the physician's knowledge of the whole patient. In adjusted analyses, those without private health insurance (P = .02) and Hispanic and Asian survivors compared with whites (P < .001) reported worse timeliness of care. Survivors who had multiple comorbidities reported better scores on timeliness of care (P < .01) and physicians' knowledge (P = .05) than survivors without any comorbidity. Length of the patient-physician relationship was the variable most consistently found to be significantly associated with survivors' quality assessments. Physicians' information exchange had the strongest relationship with overall ratings of care, followed by physicians' affective behavior, their knowledge of the survivor, and survivors' perceptions of coordination of care (P < .001 for all).
Conclusion: Delivery of quality follow-up care to cancer survivors may require efforts to improve patient-centered communication and coordination. Special emphasis may need to be placed on health promotion discussions and adoption of a whole-person orientation.