Survivors of cancer seeking lengthier follow-ups
CANCER survivors may be happy to receive after-care from medical professionals who are not cancer specialists provided they receive followups for longer, according to Scottish researchers.
Specialist-led cancer follow-up care is becoming increasingly expensive as there are more survivors of the disease, and it is failing to meet many of their needs.
Changing follow-up care in line with survivors’ preferences could lead to more efficient personalised care which could also cut costs for the NHS, the researchers from Aberdeen University said.
In what is thought to be the first study to assess British cancer survivors’ follow-up preferences and the first anywhere to compare the preferences of survivors from different cancers, researchers questioned 668 adults in north-east Scotland who had survived melanoma, breast, prostate or colorectal cancer.
They found that the survivors had a strong preference to see a consultant during a face-to-face appointment when receiving cancer follow-up. However, they appeared willing to accept follow-up from specialist nurses, registrars or GPs provided they are compensated by increased continuity of care, dietary advice and one-to-one counselling.
Dr Peter Murchie, who led the research team, said: “Cancer after-care is a hugely important but increasingly expensive patient service.
“Naturally, most survivors’ preference would be to see the most specialised cancer expert available but our survey shows that they are prepared to accept after-care from other qualified healthcare professionals as long as they receive other benefits.”
The study is published in the British Journal of Cancer.