Adult Cancer Survivorship: An Evaluation of Survivorship Care Planning and Follow-Up
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Over 1 million Americans are diagnosed with cancer in a given year and currently there are approximately 12 million cancer survivors in the United States. With improved detection strategies and medical advances, the number of cancer survivors continues to rise, making survivorship care an increasingly important phase along the continuum of cancer care. The purpose of the current study was to investigate the emerging field of survivorship care, including care planning and follow-up, in survivors of different types of cancer. We quantitatively evaluated the post-treatment care received by 123 cancer survivors, including the use of survivorship care plans and the impact of these care plans and subsequent follow-up on a variety of behavioral health outcomes. We qualitatively assessed survivorship care providers' (n = 8) perspectives on comprehensive survivorship care and experiences delivering post-treatment services. The majority of participants (54%) are receiving a moderate level of survivorship care, including minimal receipt of a written care plan (31%) and some amount of referrals for mental health, diet, and physical activity (28%). Results suggest significantly lower general psychological distress (F [1, 104] = 8.316, p = .005) and higher coping self-efficacy (F [1, 104] = 6.627, p = .011) for those who received some form of written care plan versus those who did not. These results imply that written care plan documents have the potential to lead to higher psychosocial functioning for survivors of cancer. The qualitative data provide initial evidence supporting the value of SCPs for patients and providers. Critical barriers to implementation of comprehensive survivorship care and SCPs, from the providers' perspective, include the fragmented healthcare system and resources. The current study is an important step toward increasing knowledge of and potential intervention targets to improve cancer survivorship experiences – from both the patients' and providers' perspectives. Future directions include developing a standardized system for delivering survivorship care and SCPs, and increasing the evidence base to examine the impact of SCPs on short- and long-term patient-reported and clinical outcomes, increase the focus on patient-centered care, and explore the impact of SCPs delivered to vulnerable groups of survivors.
- Doctoral Dissertations