(HealthDay News) — More effort is needed to improve the follow-up care of cancer survivors, according to research published online April 21 in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

Danielle Blanch-Hartigan, PhD, MPH, of the National Cancer Institute in Rockville, MD, and colleagues surveyed 1,130 oncologists and 1,020 primary care physicians (PCPs) to assess the practice of survivorship care for cancer patients.

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The researchers found that a majority of oncologists (64%) reported always or almost always discussing recommendations for survivorship care with cancer survivors; fewer oncologists discussed providers for cancer-related and other follow-up care (32%) or provided a written survivorship care plan (less than 5%). 

Only 12% of PCPs regularly discussed survivorship care recommendations and provider responsibility with cancer survivors. Oncologists who reported having detailed training about late and long-term effects of cancer were more likely to provide written survivorship care plans (odds ratio [OR], 1.73; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.22 to 2.44) and discuss survivorship care (OR, 2.02; 95% CI, 1.51 to 2.70). 

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PCPs who received survivorship care plans from oncologists were more likely to report discussing survivorship with survivors (OR, 9.22; 95% CI, 5.74 to 14.82).

“These nationally representative data provide a useful benchmark to assess implementation of new efforts to improve the follow-up care of survivors,” the researchers wrote.


  1. 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. 2014;doi:10.1200/JCO.2013.51.7540.