Supportive Care in Cancer

, Volume 24, Issue 5, pp 2007–2015 | Cite as

Thyroid cancer survivors’ perceptions of survivorship care follow-up options: a cross-sectional, mixed-methods survey

  • Jacqueline L. BenderEmail author
  • David Wiljer
  • Anna M. Sawka
  • Richard Tsang
  • Nour Alkazaz
  • James D. Brierley
Original Article



This study investigated thyroid cancer (TC) survivors’ perceived satisfaction with and perceptions of survivorship care follow-up options.


Well-differentiated TC (WDTC) patients receiving follow-up care at an academic cancer centre completed a questionnaire assessing perceived satisfaction with follow-up care involving different clinicians and mediated by the Internet (email or videoconference) and their perceptions of these follow-up options. We examined associations between patient characteristics and perceived satisfaction with follow-up care options. Qualitative responses were analysed using conventional content analysis.


Two hundred and two respondents completed the questionnaire (80 % response rate). The majority strongly agreed or agreed that they would be satisfied with specialist (surgeon, oncologist, or endocrinologist) follow-up (90.6 %) or a shared-care model that integrates specialists with primary care (67.5 %). One third (32 %) would be satisfied with video-based and 26 % with email-based specialist follow-up, 15 % with primary care alone. Longer time since diagnosis and health-related Internet use were associated with higher perceived satisfaction with Internet-based follow-up. Younger age was associated with higher perceived satisfaction with primary care follow-up. Qualitative responses (n = 145) revealed that survivors need reassurance they are receiving adequate care, regardless of the model or medium. Enablers to primary care and Internet-based follow-up are discussed.


WDTC survivors want specialists involved in their follow-up. A specialist/primary care shared-care approach appears to be a suitable alternative to specialist-led follow-up for TC survivors. Internet-based visits could address some aspects of follow-up care for some WDTC survivors. Future work should examine patient and provider requirements for shared, multi-modal survivorship care.


Thyroid cancer Survivorship Follow-up Technology Internet 



Angel Duggan, Barbara Athil, Darlene Dale, and the PM Cancer Registry are acknowledged.

Compliance with ethical standards

This study was approved by the institution’s Research Ethics Board.

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no competing interests.

Consent to participate

All study respondents gave signed informed consent.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jacqueline L. Bender
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
    Email author
  • David Wiljer
    • 4
  • Anna M. Sawka
    • 5
    • 6
  • Richard Tsang
    • 7
    • 8
  • Nour Alkazaz
    • 1
  • James D. Brierley
    • 7
    • 8
  1. 1.ELLICSR Health, Wellness and Cancer Survivorship CentreUniversity Health NetworkTorontoCanada
  2. 2.Centre for Global Health InnovationUniversity Health NetworkTorontoCanada
  3. 3.Dalla Lana School of Public HealthUniversity of TorontoTorontoCanada
  4. 4.Centre for Addiction and Mental HealthTorontoCanada
  5. 5.Division of EndocrinologyUniversity Health NetworkTorontoCanada
  6. 6.Department of EndocrinologyUniversity of TorontoTorontoCanada
  7. 7.Radiation Medicine Program, Princess Margaret Cancer CentreUniversity Health NetworkTorontoCanada
  8. 8.Department of Radiation OncologyUniversity of TorontoTorontoCanada

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