The Herald

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.

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