Caring for people living with, and beyond, cancer: An online survey of GPS in England

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Background Increasing numbers of people are living with, and beyond, cancer. They are at risk of longterm morbidity and premature mortality due to the consequences of their disease and its treatment. Primary care can contribute to providing ongoing care. Aim To determine the current practice and views of GPs in England regarding cancer survivorship care. Design and setting Online survey of a sample of 500 GPs, stratified by NHS region in England. Method The survey included questions adapted from prior surveys assessing physician knowledge and attitudes regarding care of patients with cancer. Results In total, 500 GPs responded; approximately half reported often providing care to people living beyond cancer for treatment-related side effects (51%), psychological symptoms (65%), and lifestyle advice (55%). Only 29% felt very confident managing treatment-related side effects compared with 46% and 65% for psychological symptoms and lifestyle advice respectively. Half reported usually receiving cancer treatment summaries and survivorship care plans but most of the sample felt these would improve their ability to provide care (76%). Only 53% were convinced of the usefulness of cancer care reviews. Although most felt that primary and specialist care should share responsibility for managing bone (81%) and cardiovascular (77%) health consequences, fewer than half reported often taking previous history of cancer or cancer treatment into consideration when assessing bone health; only one-fifth did this in relation to cardiovascular health. Most responders were interested in receiving education to improve their knowledge and expertise. Conclusion GPs have a potentially important role to play in caring for people following cancer treatment. This study has highlighted areas where further support and education are needed to enable GPs to optimise their role in cancer survivorship care.




Walter, F. M., Usher-Smith, J. A., Yadlapalli, S., & Watson, E. (2015). Caring for people living with, and beyond, cancer: An online survey of GPS in England. British Journal of General Practice, 65(640), e761–e768.

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