Views of health professionals on the role of primary care in the follow-up of men with prostate cancer

Fam Pract. 2011 Dec;28(6):647-54. doi: 10.1093/fampra/cmr034. Epub 2011 Jun 21.


Background: Follow-up care for prostate cancer has traditionally been led by secondary care in hospital out-patient clinics. As the number of men with prostate cancer increases and secondary care resources face pressure, alternative follow-up models are being sought. Current National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence guidance recommends follow-up outside the hospital setting for patients who are stable 2 years following radical treatment and for those undergoing 'watchful waiting'.

Objective: To describe current practice in a sample of relevant health care professionals and to seek their views on the role of primary care in prostate cancer follow-up.

Methods: Semi-structured telephone interviews with 38 UK health care professionals, from both secondary and primary care. Transcripts were analysed using the constant comparative method.

Results: There are marked variations in current follow-up practice around the country, with hospital-based follow-up ranging from 6 months to lifetime. The predominant, although not universal, view expressed was that there is both scope and support for primary care to play a greater role, particularly for men with stable disease. This was qualified by the need for supporting education, including guidance on interpretation of prostate-specific antigen values, introduction of robust follow-up systems in primary care, easy access back into secondary (hospital) care, a mechanism for ensuring follow-up data can still be collected for audit purposes and appropriate resourcing.

Conclusions: If primary care is to play a significant role in providing high-quality follow-up care for men with prostate cancer, then steps need to be taken to address the barriers to increased primary care involvement identified by this study.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aftercare*
  • Attitude of Health Personnel*
  • Continuity of Patient Care
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice
  • Health Services Needs and Demand*
  • Humans
  • Interviews as Topic
  • Male
  • Physician's Role
  • Primary Health Care*
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / therapy*
  • Qualitative Research
  • United Kingdom