Objective: To identify the experience and willingness of family physicians to accept follow-up care of patients treated for stage I breast cancer.
Design: Mailed questionnaire.
Participants: One hundred eighty-nine family physicians in southwestern Ontario with oversampling of female physicians and physicians practising more than 20 km from a cancer clinic.
Main outcome measure: Willingness to follow breast cancer patients and time after treatment family physicians would be willing to begin follow-up care.
Results: We had an 81.5% response rate. Of the 154 respondents, 53% had been involved previously in the 5-year, follow-up care of a patient with breast cancer and 77.1% believed it appropriate for family physicians to assume responsibility for follow-up care in all or most cases. If asked by a patient, the family, or an oncologist to provide follow-up care, 90.1% of family physicians reported they would accept this responsibility. Willingness to follow breast cancer patients was not associated with sex, years in practice, proximity to a cancer clinic, or certification status but was associated with having previously provided such care (P = .043). Of those willing to care for these patients, almost 90% would prefer to start within 1 year of treatment.
Conclusion: Although only half the respondents had experience in providing follow-up care to breast cancer patients, most were willing to take on this role, especially if asked.