Manasi Kapoor, Oncology Roundtable
Symptoms and side-effects of treatment weigh heavily on cancer patients; many report experiencing up to ten symptoms at a time, including pain, nausea, and dehydration. While symptom management issues are routinely treated by cancer care providers, cancer patients don’t always know where to go if issues arise after business hours or on weekends.
They often end up in the emergency department, which can be especially risky for cancer patients with compromised immune systems. As such, some cancer centers have begun to provide after-hours clinic access in an effort to deliver timely, high-quality symptom management and to avoid unnecessary emergency department visits.
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While survivorship is not a new issue, a majority of cancer providers still struggle to deliver services that meet patients' post-treatment needs. One of the challenges is figuring out how to involve patients' primary care providers. New research suggests that there is a significant gap in communications with this group.
Researchers at Henry Ford surveyed 103 physicians, nurse practitioners, and physician assistants within the Health System. They found that primary care providers are frequently uncertain about the role that they should play in post-treatment care for cancer survivors, and that this confusion has significant consequences for patients. According to the lead researcher, the study's findings "indicate that post-treatment cancer care is at best fragmented and at worse nonexistent."
Specifically, the survey results indicate:
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