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Authors Neuman HB, Steffens NM, Jacobson N, Tevaarwerk A, Anderson B, Wilke LG, Greenberg CC
Author Profile(s)
Journal Ann. Surg. Oncol. Volume: 23 Issue: 3 Pages: 708-14
Publish Date 2016 Mar
PubMed ID 26474556
PMC ID 4749446

Improving the quality of follow-up provided to the 3 million U.S. breast cancer survivors is a high priority. Current guidelines do not provide guidance regarding who should participate in follow-up or what providers’ specific responsibilities should be. Given the multidisciplinary nature of breast cancer care, this results in significant variation and creates the potential for redundancy and/or gaps. Our objective was to provide insight into why different types of oncologists believe their participation in follow-up is necessary.A purposeful sample of breast medical, radiation, and surgical oncologists was identified (n = 35) and in-depth one-on-one interviews were conducted. Data were analyzed using content analysis.Medical oncologists were driven by a sense of Responsibility for Ongoing Therapy, perceived Strong Patient Relationship, and belief that their systemic approach to follow-up represented a Specific Skillset beneficial to patients. In contrast, surgical and radiation oncologists were selective about which patients they followed, participating when they perceived their Specific Skillset of enhanced local-regional assessments would be valuable. Additionally, they endorsed participating to Ensure Follow-up is Received or not participating to Minimize Redundancy. These individual decisions led to either a Complementary Oncologist Team or Primary Oncologist follow-up approach.Oncologists’ feel responsible for the cancer-related components of follow-up. Differences amongst oncology specialists’ perceived responsibilities influenced decisions to provide ongoing follow-up. Based on these individual decisions, a Complementary Oncologist Team or Primary Oncologist model of care evolves organically. Guidelines that explicitly direct patients into a care model have the potential to significantly improve care quality and efficiency.

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