Less than 5% of oncologists surveyed provide a written survivorship care plan to patients.
Survivorship care plans (SCPs) have become a buzzword in cancer care. Ideally, these care plans are documents that contain a record of treatments received along with a defined plan for future follow-up and monitoring. They also should be reviewed and updated regularly.
Researchers from the Office of Cancer Survivorship at the National Cancer Institute surveyed 1,130 oncologists and 1,020 primary care providers (PCPs) about survivorship care practices. Logistic regression models predicted factors associated with providing SCPs or discussing recommendations with survivors. Although a majority of oncologists (64%) reported always/almost always discussing survivorship care recommendations with patients, only a third (32%) discussed who survivors should see for cancer-related and other follow-up care. Just 5% provided a SCP in writing. Survivorship care recommendations and provider responsibility were not regularly discussed by PCPs and patients (12%). Oncologists who reported detailed training about late and long-term effects of cancer were more likely to provide written SCPs and discuss survivorship care planning. PCPs who received SCPs from oncologists were nine times more likely to report survivorship discussions with patients. SCPs are helpful tools in planning the follow-up care of patients receiving cancer treatment—but only if they are implemented.
Blanch-Hartigan D, Forsythe LP, Alfano CM, et al. Provision and Discussion of Survivorship Care Plans Among Cancer Survivors: Results of a Nationally Representative Survey of Oncologists and Primary Care Physicians. J Clin Oncol. Published online before print April 21, 2014, doi: 10.1200/JCO.2013.51.7540.