Health care use and remaining needs for support among women with breast cancer in the first 15 months after diagnosis: the role of the GP

Lo-Fo-Wong, D. N., de Haes, H. C., Aaronson, N. K., van Abbema, D. L., Admiraal, J. M., den Boer, M. D., Hezewijk, M. V., Immink, M., Kaptein, A. A., Menke-Pluijmers, M. B., Russell, N. S., Schriek, M., Sijtsema, S., van Tienhoven, G. & Sprangers, M. A., 27-Aug-2019, In : Family practice. 7 p.

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  • Health care use and remaining needs for support

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  • Deborah N Lo-Fo-Wong
  • Hanneke C de Haes
  • Neil K Aaronson
  • Doris L van Abbema
  • Jolien M Admiraal
  • Mathilda D den Boer
  • Marjan van Hezewijk
  • Marcelle Immink
  • Ad A Kaptein
  • Marian B Menke-Pluijmers
  • Nicola S Russell
  • Manon Schriek
  • Sieta Sijtsema
  • Geertjan van Tienhoven
  • Mirjam A Sprangers

BACKGROUND: The number of women with breast cancer in general practice is rising. To address their needs and wishes for a referral, GPs might benefit from more insight into women's health care practices and need for additional support.

OBJECTIVE: To examine the prevalence of health care use and remaining needs among women with breast cancer in the first 15 months after diagnosis.

METHODS: In this multicentre, prospective, observational study women with breast cancer completed a questionnaire at 6 and 15 months post-diagnosis. Medical data were retrieved through chart reviews. The prevalence of types of health care used and remaining needs related to medical, psychosocial, paramedical and supplementary service care (such as home care), was examined with descriptive analyses.

RESULTS: Seven hundred forty-six women completed both questionnaires. At both assessments patients reported that they had most frequent contact with medical and paramedical providers, independent of types of treatment received. Three to fifteen percent of the patients expressed a need for more support. Prominent needs included a wish for more frequent contact with a physiotherapist, a clinical geneticist and a psychologist. Patients also wanted more help for chores around the house, particularly in the early post-treatment phase.

CONCLUSION: A small but relevant percentage of women with breast cancer report having unmet needs. GPs may need to be particularly watchful of their need for more support from specific providers. Future research into the necessity of structural needs assessment among cancer patients in general practice is warranted.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages7
JournalFamily practice
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 27-Aug-2019

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