Sessions on kidney cancer start tomorrow at 8:00 am, but in the meantime we are learning about Survivorship Care Plans — and why we need them for kidney cancer patients.
Whose Job is It Anyway?
Interesting study in the U.S. of over 1,000 oncologists and over 1,000 PCPs (primary care physicians) revealed that BOTH groups felt that the primary care physician should not have the primary responsibility for follow-up care. Oncologists strongly believed that primary care physicians do not have the required knowledge or skills to detect recurrent cancer (of either breast or colorectal cancer, two of the most common cancers).
How Many Patients are given a Treatment Summary and Survivorship Care Plan?
For breast or colorectal cancer in the U.S., only half (47%) of oncologists report that they give their patients a written treatment summary and follow-up care plan. That number is considered low with much discussion of what needs to happen to go beyond the written document. Patients need both guidelines and guidance — including discussions about exercise, fatigue, weight management, and smoking cessation.
So What About Kidney Cancer in Canada?
Not surprisingly, kidney cancer lags far behind breast and colorectal cancers. We have no templates for survivorship care plans for kidney cancer patients yet. (However, the Kidney Cancer Research Network of Canada discussed the need for survivorship plans in January of this year).
In the meantime, all patients need to ask for a summary of their treatment and discuss what they can be doing for their own follow-up care (including surveillance schedules and lifestyle modifications) to help reduce the risk of further health complications.