Supportive Care in Cancer

, Volume 21, Issue 9, pp 2491–2497 | Cite as

‘They’re survivors physically but we want them to survive mentally as well’: health care professionals’ views on providing potential late effect information

  • Anna CoxEmail author
  • Sara Faithfull
Original Article



The concept of providing personalised care plans for cancer survivors is receiving increasing attention; a recognised element of a care plan is to provide an indication of the risks and consequences of treatment. This paper reports health care professional (HCP) response to providing cancer survivors with information on potential late effects of their cancer treatment.


Eighteen HCPs from five cancer centres and three general practices in the UK completed semi-structured interviews which were digitally recorded, transcribed and qualitatively analysed using framework analysis.


HCPs’ view of health care was that it is currently focused on acute care and needs are responded to as they may arise, including those which are late effects of cancer treatments. The concept of pre-empting a discussion of potential late effects during the survivorship phase was felt to be discordant with this approach and could impact on adjustment to life after cancer treatment.


Providing cancer survivors with information on potential late effects requires further consideration. Evidence for survivor preference for late effect information and the benefit afforded to survivors who receive it could inform the practice of HCPs. If a culture of proactivity is to be encouraged regarding discussions of future potential risk, HCPs may need support in considering ways of presenting survivors with reality whilst being mindful of their need to retain hope during the survivorship phase.


Late effects Cancer Risk communication Survivorship care plans 



The service evaluation for which these data were collected was funded by Macmillan Cancer Support through the National Cancer Survivorship Initiative. The authors would like to thank the health care professionals involved in the study for their assistance and contribution.

Conflict of interest

The authors do not have any conflicts of interest to disclose. The authors have full control of all primary data and agree to allow the journal to review these data if requested.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of Health and Medical SciencesUniversity of SurreyGuildfordUK

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