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ESMOPharma 2013 (ECC 2013): Dr Florian Scotté

What Do Patients Think About their Follow-up?

ESMOPharma 2013 (ECC 2013): Dr Florian Scotté

How should the cancer patient be monitored in the post-treatment phase, and by whom? The perception of patients towards their follow-up was evaluated [2013 ECC, Abs 1781].

Between February 2012 and March 2013, 450 patients undergoing monitoring were questioned prior to their follow-up visit, using a questionnaire structured around different points:

  • their main worries and concerns.
  • the meaning attributed to their follow-up.
  • their relationship with their oncologist.
  • their satisfaction level regarding the established monitoring procedure.

A majority of patients (62.2%) felt confident and calm, while 21% felt anxious and 15% afraid and worried. The concerns were mainly related to relapse, but also to surgery (15.3%) or chemotherapy (9.8%).

The meaning attributed to the follow-up visits focused on:

  • the evaluation of their state of health (37.8%)
  • the early detection of a relapse (22.4%)
  • psychological support (25.5%, and especially in the groups of patients that had been followed long-term for more than 5 years).

This point highlights the importance of oncology. For 74% of the patients questioned, oncology will remain the reference for any health problem. This result is in line with the thesis of Gisèle Chvetzoff (Centre Léon Bérard, Lyon), who found the same result (Chvetzoff G. Thesis for a PhD in Ethics, 22 November, 2010. Deciding to Stop Chemotherapy: Ethical Issues, Paris V René Descartes).

A large majority of patients (72%) were satisfied with follow-up procedures, while 9.8% desired lower frequency and 11.6 %, on the contrary, desired greater frequency.

Regarding the evolution of caregiver demographics (in decline) and patient demographics (on the rise), one can easily imagine the issues involved with these results. The city–hospital relationship and the delegation of follow-up programs to other practitioners, in particular generalist physicians, comes head to head with the reality of patient expectations. The work in progress created by the various cancer plans is still under construction!

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