Cancer survivorship training in family medicine residency programs



The objective of the study was to examine current family medicine residency education in cancer survivorship and barriers to cancer survivorship education in the residency curriculum.


Family medicine residency program directors (n = 628) were surveyed electronically between September 2019 and November 2019 through the Council of Academic Family Medicine Educational Research Alliance (CERA) annual program directory survey. Respondents (n = 250) answered questions regarding eventual cancer survivorship curriculum in their residency program, including interest and barriers to implementation. Program characteristics were assessed using univariate and multivariate analyses.


Only 9.2% of family medicine residency program directors reported having a cancer survivorship curriculum. Sixty-nine percent of program directors reported they would implement a cancer survivorship curriculum if one was available. The most significant barrier to implementation of a cancer survivorship curriculum was insufficient time (39.6%) followed by lack of faculty expertise (26.9%). Respondents that reported lack of faculty expertise as a barrier to implementation of cancer survivorship training were more likely be report that they would be willing to implement a cancer survivorship curriculum (p < 0.01).


Despite the majority of primary care physicians providing care to cancer survivors, few family medicine residency programs have formal training in cancer survivorship care. There is interest in expanding family medicine residency training in cancer survivorship care among program directors.

Implications for Cancer Survivors

Gaining insight into the current educational curriculum and barriers to cancer survivorship training will lead to opportunities to improve residency training, and ultimately provide better care to cancer survivors in primary care settings.

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Correspondence to Sarah Tucker Price.

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Price, S.T., Berini, C., Seehusen, D. et al. Cancer survivorship training in family medicine residency programs. J Cancer Surviv (2020).

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  • Cancer survivor
  • Survivorship training
  • Family medicine residency
  • Cancer survivorship program