Oncologist, Primary Care Provider Expertise Needed for Psychosocial Survivorship Care

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(ChemotherapyAdvisor) – A survey of more than 2,000 medical oncologists and primary care physicians (PCPs) regarding follow-up care of survivors of breast and colon cancer has found that perceptions of who provides specific aspects of psychosocial care differs, with both groups seeing themselves as the main providers, according to an article in the Journal of Clinical Oncology online July 9.

“Psychosocial survivorship care is complex, and the expertise of oncologists, PCPs, and other professionals is needed at different points along the cancer continuum,” the authors write. “Addressing psychosocial needs, including key components of psychologic distress, physical symptoms, and health promotion, is vital to cancer follow-up care. Yet little is known about who provides psychosocial care.” The nationally representative sample of 1,130 medical oncologists and 1,021 primary care providers were surveyed to examine physician-reported practices regarding care of post-treatment cancer survivors.

They found that about half of oncologists and PCPs (52%) reported broad involvement in psychosocial care, which could be predicted by oncologist and PCP confidence, beliefs about who is able to provide psychosocial support, and preferences for shared responsibility for care.

“Findings that some providers are not broadly involved in psychosocial care and that oncologists and PCPs differ in their beliefs regarding who provides specific aspects of care underscore the need for better care coordination, informed by the respective skills and desires of physicians, to ensure needs are met. Interventions targeting physician confidence, beliefs about who is able to provide psychosocial support, and preferred models for survivorship care may improve psychosocial care delivery,” they concluded.


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