Specialist and general practice views on routine follow-up of breast cancer patients in general practice.
Grunfeld E., Mant D., Vessey MP., Fitzpatrick R.
The practice of routinely following-up breast cancer in hospital clinics is of widespread concern: studies have shown that it is not an effective way of detecting recurrent disease and it places great strain on cancer services which are already overstretched. A general practice centred system of routine follow-up may be a solution to this problem in those countries which have a strong primary care base. Such a system would have other benefits such as continuity of care for the patient. The objective of this study was to determine the views of general practitioners and specialists on follow-up of patients with breast cancer in remission, with special emphasis on their views on the transfer of routine follow-up from the hospital to general practice. A postal questionnaire survey of British breast cancer specialists (response rate 77.0%) and a personal interview survey of British general practitioners (response rate 81.8%) were conducted. The results show that British general practitioners are willing to take on greater responsibility for the routine follow-up care of their patients with breast cancer. However, there was frequently a mis-match between specialists' and general practitioners' views on this subject.