Study: Cancer survivors receive inadequate treatment from primary care physicians

Primary care practices have yet to take responsibility for cancer survivors' long-term care, despite a decade-long effort to move cancer survivorship care out of the specialist arena, according to a study published in JAMA Internal Medicine.

For the study, researchers observed 12 advanced primary care settings selected from a national registry of innovative practices for 10- to 12-day periods between March 2015 and February 2017. The practices were based in Colorado, Illinois, Maine, New York, Pennsylvania and Washington. None had comprehensive cancer survivorship programs in place.

"This is troubling because these are highly innovative practices that have a national reputation," said Benjamin Crabtree, PhD, a medical anthropologist and professor in the department of family medicine and community health at Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School in New Brunswick, N.J. "As more and more people survive cancer, there will not be enough oncologists to follow these patients and meet their healthcare needs."

After speaking with clinicians and administrators at each practice, researchers found Bbarriers to initiating cancer survivorship programs included no clinical code for cancer survivorship, the limited capability of EHRs and lost medical records.

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