Follow-up care experiences and perceived quality of care among long-term survivors of breast, prostate, colorectal, and gynecologic cancers

J Oncol Pract. 2014 Jul;10(4):e231-9. doi: 10.1200/JOP.2013.001175. Epub 2014 Apr 1.


Introduction: Post-treatment follow-up represents a crucial aspect of quality cancer care; however, data are lacking regarding follow-up care experiences, perception of provider involvement in care, and perceived quality of care from diverse samples of long-term survivors diagnosed as adults.

Methods: Questionnaires were mailed in 2005 to 2006 to breast, prostate, colorectal, endometrial, and ovarian cancer survivors (4 to 14 years after diagnosis), sampled from California SEER cancer registries.

Results: Most survivors (n = 1,490) reported recent follow-up care (68.7%), generally from oncology specialists only (47.4%) or shared between oncology and primary care providers (PCPs; 27.6%). Most survivors reported follow-up care advice (79.9%); fewer reported late-effects advice or receipt of a treatment summary (41.7% and 19.9%, respectively). Survivors who identified a PCP as their main follow-up care physician were as likely as those identifying an oncology specialist to rate their care as high quality (odds ratio [OR], 2.56; 95% CI, 0.98 to 6.74); however, survivors who could not identify a main follow-up care provider were less likely to report high-quality care (OR, 0.20; 95% CI, 0.08 to 0.50). Compared with follow-up care by an oncology specialist only, care by a PCP only was associated with a lower quality-of-care rating (OR, 0.34; 95% CI, 0.13 to 0.91), but there was no significant difference in quality rating by survivors when care was shared by an oncology specialist and PCP compared with an oncology specialist only.

Conclusion: Long-term survivors commonly report follow-up care years after their diagnosis; however, many patients' follow-up lacks important components. Care is more likely to be rated as high quality when one main provider is identified and an oncology specialist is involved.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasms / therapy*
  • Patient Satisfaction
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Survivors