Background: Approximately one third of cancer survivors in the United Kingdom face ongoing and debilitating psychological and physical symptoms related to poor quality of life. Very little is known about current post-cancer treatment services.
Methods: Oncology healthcare professionals (HCPs) were invited to take part a in survey, which gathered both quantitative and free text data about the content and delivery of cancer aftercare and patient needs. Analysis involved descriptive statistics and content analysis.
Results: There were 163 complete responses from 278 survey participants; 70% of NHS acute trusts provided data. HCPs views on patient post-cancer treatment needs were most frequently: fear of recurrence (95%), fatigue (94%), changes in physical capabilities (89%), anxiety (89%) and depression (88%). A median number of 2 aftercare sessions were provided (interquartile range: 1,4) lasting between 30 and 60 minutes. Usually these were provided face-to-face and intermittently by a HCP. However, sessions did not necessarily address the issues HCPs asserted as important. Themes from free-text responses highlighted inconsistencies in care, uncertain funding for services and omission of some evidence based approaches.
Conclusion: Provision of post-cancer treatment follow-up care is neither universal nor consistent in the NHS, nor does it address needs HCPs identified as most important.