Receipt of cancer treatment summaries and follow-up instructions among adult cancer survivors: results from a national survey
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- Sabatino, S.A., Thompson, T.D., Smith, J.L. et al. J Cancer Surviv (2013) 7: 32. doi:10.1007/s11764-012-0242-x
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The purpose of this study is to examine reporting of treatment summaries and follow-up instructions among cancer survivors.
Using the 2010 National Health Interview Survey, we created logistic regression models among cancer survivors not in treatment (n = 1,345) to determine characteristics associated with reporting treatment summaries and written follow-up instructions, adjusting for sociodemographic, access, and cancer-related factors. Findings are presented for all survivors and those recently diagnosed (≤4 years). We also examined unadjusted associations between written instructions and subsequent surveillance and screening.
Among those recently diagnosed, 38 % reported receiving treatment summaries and 58 % reported written instructions. Among all survivors, approximately one third reported summaries and 44 % reported written instructions. After adjustment, lower reporting of summaries was associated with cancer site, race, and number of treatment modalities among those recently diagnosed, and white vs. black or Hispanic race/ethnicity, breast vs. colorectal cancer, >10 vs. ≤5 years since diagnosis, no clinical trials participation, and better than fair health among all survivors. For instructions, lower reporting was associated with no trials participation and lower income among those recently diagnosed, and increasing age, white vs. black race, lower income, >10 vs. ≤5 years since diagnosis, 1 vs. ≥2 treatment modalities, no trials participation, and at least good vs. fair/poor health among all survivors. Written instructions were associated with reporting provider recommendations for breast and cervical cancer surveillance, and recent screening mammograms.
Many recently diagnosed cancer survivors did not report receiving treatment summaries and written follow-up instructions. Opportunities exist to examine associations between use of these documents and recommended care and outcomes, and to facilitate their adoption.
Implications for cancer survivors
Cancer survivors who have completed therapy should ask their providers for treatment summaries and written follow-up instructions, and discuss with them how their cancer and therapy impact their future health care.