Publication Abstract

Authors: Virgo KS, Lerro CC, Klabunde CN, Earle C, Ganz PA

Title: Barriers to breast and colorectal cancer survivorship care: perceptions of primary care physicians and medical oncologists in the United States.

Journal: J Clin Oncol 31(18):2322-36

Date: 2013 Jun 20

Abstract: PURPOSE: High-quality, well-coordinated cancer survivorship care is needed yet barriers remain owing to fragmentation in the United States health care system. This article is a nationwide survey of barriers perceived by primary care physicians (PCPs) and medical oncologists (MOs) regarding breast and colorectal cancer survivorship care beyond 5 years after treatment. METHODS: The Survey of Physician Attitudes Regarding the Care of Cancer Survivors was mailed out in 2009 to a nationally-representative sample (n = 3,596) of US PCPs and MOs. Ten physician-perceived cancer survivorship care barriers/concerns were compared between the two provider types. Using weighted multinomial logistic regression, we modeled each barrier, adjusting for physician demographics, reimbursement, training, and practice characteristics. RESULTS: We received responses from 2,202 physicians (1,072 PCPs; 1,130 MOs; 65.1% cooperation rate). In adjusted patient-related barriers models, MOs were more likely than PCPs to report patient language barriers (odds ratio, [OR], 1.72; 95% CI, 1.22 to 2.42), insurance restrictions impeding test/treatment use (OR, 1.42; 95% CI, 1.03 to 1.96), and patients requesting more aggressive testing (OR, 4.08; 95% CI, 2.73 to 6.10). In adjusted physician-related barriers models, PCPs were more likely to report inadequate training (OR, 3.06; 95% CI, 2.03 to 4.61) and ordering additional tests/treatments because of malpractice concerns (OR, 1.87; 95% CI, 1.20 to 2.93). MOs were more likely to report uncertainty regarding general preventive care responsibility (often/always: OR, 1.97; 95% CI, 1.13 to 3.43; sometimes: OR, 2.16; 95% CI, 1.60 to 2.93). CONCLUSION: MOs and PCPs perceive different cancer follow-up care barriers/concerns to be problematic. Resolving inadequate training, malpractice-driven test ordering, and preventive-care responsibility concerns may require continuing education, explicit guidelines, and survivorship care plans. Reviewing care plans with survivors may also reduce patients' requests for unnecessary testing.