Gynecological cancer patients' attitudes toward follow-up care after cancer treatment: Do preferences reflect patients' experience? A cross-sectional questionnaire study

Acta Obstet Gynecol Scand. 2018 Nov;97(11):1325-1331. doi: 10.1111/aogs.13396. Epub 2018 Aug 2.

Abstract

Introduction: Due to an increasing number of cancer patients, new follow-up models are being debated, among them follow-up by general practitioners. Before changing surveillance, it is important to explore patients' views. The purpose of this study was to compare attitudes toward follow-up care among patients treated for gynecological cancer who had not yet started a follow-up regimen, with those who had been attending a hospital-based follow-up regimen for more than one year.

Material and methods: We conducted a cross-sectional survey among gynecological cancer patients recruited from three Norwegian hospitals in 2013-2015: Sørlandet Hospital Kristiansand, Sørlandet Hospital Arendal and St. Olavs Hospital, Trondheim.

Results: In all, 239 patients agreed to participate, 100 who had not yet started follow-up and 139 who had been attending more than one year of follow-up. Patients reported that they preferred to be followed up by a gynecologist rather than by their GP, whom they viewed as less competent for this purpose. However, patients who had not yet started follow-up were more willing to be followed up by a GP. Overall, patients rated detection of recurrence as the most important aspect of follow-up visits.

Conclusions: The gynecological cancer patients in our study preferred a hospital-based follow-up model. However, patients who had not yet started follow-up were more willing to be followed up by a GP. If follow-up is to be provided by GPs for selected patients, it is important that these patients are informed early of the value and limitations of follow-up visits, to ensure that they feel safe.

Keywords: attitudes; cancer patient; experience; follow-up; general practitioner; gynecological; preference.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aftercare / methods*
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • General Practice
  • Genital Neoplasms, Female / diagnosis
  • Genital Neoplasms, Female / psychology
  • Genital Neoplasms, Female / therapy*
  • Gynecology
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasm Recurrence, Local / diagnosis
  • Neoplasm Recurrence, Local / psychology
  • Norway
  • Patient Preference / psychology
  • Patient Preference / statistics & numerical data*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires