PERSPECTIVES OF CANCER SURVIVORS

Presenters: Ms. Rebecca Day and Mr. Reynolds Kinzey


Three focus groups were conducted among cancer survivors to learn more about follow-up care that is currently being provided, levels of satisfaction with posttreatment care, receptivity to the concept of a Survivorship Care Plan, and reactions to a specific draft care plan template that would summarize a particular patient’s cancer treatment and specify a plan for follow-up care (see draft template in Appendix E). The composition of the three groups was as follows:1

  1. Older cancer survivors (age 56 to 70), both men and women,

  2. Younger women survivors only (age 25 to 55), and

  3. Younger men only (age 25 to 55).

Participants had completed their primary treatment for various types of cancer (excluding superficial skin cancer) and their initial follow-up care within the past 5 years. All groups were held in Fairfax, Virginia, on April 5, 2006.2

Views on Follow-Up Care

In general, participants reported that they were satisfied with their follow-up care, most rating it 7 or above on a 10-point scale on which 10 means “completely satisfied.” Only a few expressed open dissatisfaction initially. In describing their follow-up care, it became evident that satisfaction was high for the medical or clinical aspects of their care; however, many expressed dissatisfaction with their physician’s lack of attention to their psychological needs. One man said, “They are very good clinically, but there wasn’t much attention paid to the psychological aspect, just very clinical.” And an older person said, “They also did nothing in terms of follow-up, in terms of the psychological follow-up, nutrition, exercise, support groups, none of that, and I know some of the hospitals and doctors do things that way, but even a sheet of paper would have been nice, so I was not struggling on the Internet.”

Older patients, more of whom have survived past the 1-year mark, and

1

The first (older) group was led by Ms. Day, the all-women group was led by Ms. Day, and the all-men group was led by Mr. Kinzey.

2

Fairfax is a fairly affluent community and group membership reflected this. For example, all group members were well educated and had searched the Internet for information on their cancer. Responses to survivorship care planning would probably have been different if the groups had been held in a rural area or among individuals of low socioeconomic status.



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