Primary Care Providers

Primary care providers, including physicians, mid-level providers, nurses and allied health professionals, along with wellness and supportive care organizations, are essential across the continuum of cancer care.  With over 13 million cancer survivors in the US today, projected to grow to more than 18 million by 2020, the entire healthcare system needs to collaborate in order to provide quality care for cancer survivors.  Long-term, much of this responsibility for coordinated care will reside with primary care providers.

 
At present, there is a knowledge gap and a hesitation transitioning cancer survivors back to their primary care physicians (PCPs).   The Journal of General Internal Medicine (December 2011), highlighted the Differences Between Primary Care Physicians’ and Oncologists’ Knowledge, Attitudes and Practices Regarding the Care of Cancer Survivors, and concluded that “There are significant differences in PCPs’ and oncologists’ knowledge, attitudes, and practices with respect to care of cancer survivors.  Improving cancer survivors’ care may require more effective communication between these two group to increase PCPs’ confidence in the knowledge, and must also address oncologists’ attitudes regarding PCPs’ ability to care for cancer survivors.”  
 
Cancer survivors also have concerns about the transition from their cancer care specialist to their PCP.  In a recent report in the Annals of Family Medicine (Sept/Oct 2012), Adult Cancer Survivors Discuss Follow-up in Primary Care: ‘Not What I Want, But Maybe What I Need,’ found that “Survivors have concerns about seeing their primary care physician for cancer-related follow-up care.”  
 
Survivorship Care Plans (SCPs) are supposed to help with the transition back to primary care.  If implemented correctly, a SCP will provide good data regarding treatment history, current therapy, risks for late effects, and guidelines for follow-up care.  However, there is little evidence to support this mandate along with significant gaps in knowledge and sporadic delivery of care.   At the 2012 American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) Annual Meeting a presentation entitled Oncologists’ and primary care providers’ awareness of late effect of cancer treatment: Implications for survivorship care highlighted that “oncologists often identified late effects of commonly used chemotherapy, while primary care providers did not.”  This is representative of the many issues that PCPs face in managing cancer survivors.  
 
Cancer Survivorship Training (CST) was created to fill this void by providing inter-professional education and training solutions.  CST’s online and mobile courses and community provide a common nomenclature for all healthcare professionals collaborating in the care of cancer survivors.  Courses cover key elements in the delivery of survivorship care including:  assessment, education, intervention, and coordination of care.  Primary care providers who leverage CST’s eLearning solutions will learn critical knowledge and access to resources essential in managing survivors who transition into their practice. The overarching goal is to bring evidence based cancer survivorship education and training to the healthcare professionals regardless of their practice location and specialty.  Educated and empowered healthcare professionals will provide increased access and quality of care to cancer survivors.

For Organizations

Cancer Survivorship Training (CST) can help your hospital, institution or organization with comprehensive survivorship education and resources to build and maintain a survivorship program.

 

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