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Open Access Disconnect between primary care and cancer follow-up care: An exploratory study from Odisha, India

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Objective: There has been a steady increase in the demand for cancer follow-up care in India. Compared with Western countries, there is little evidence on the capacity of the Indian primary care workforce to accommodate such tasks. We explored the perceptions of oncologists, general practitioners, and patients with regard to the involvement of primary care in cancer follow-up care.

Methods: We undertook semistructured focus-group discussions with eight oncologists, nine general practitioners, and 17 cancer patients to gain an understanding of their perceived roles and responsibilities with regard to primary care in delivering follow-up care and the potential concerns. Data from the focus groups were transcribed verbatim, translated, and analyzed with use of a thematic approach.

Results: Most general practitioners felt that their job is to see ‘normal’ patients, and cancer patients were exceptions to routine care. Oncologists were apprehensive with regard to the competence of general practitioners and patient trust. Patients consult oncologists for cancer follow-up care as they perceive it to be very specialized. Patients expressed difficulty in accessing follow-up care and want specialized oncological care by trained personnel in their vicinity.

Conclusion: Despite the growing number of cancer survivors, we found a disconnect between primary care and cancer follow-up care.

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Keywords: India; Odisha; Primary care; cancer follow-up; general practitioner; qualitative perspectives

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2015-09-01

More about this publication?
  • Family Medicine and Community Health (FMCH) is an open-access journal focusing on subjects that are common and relevant to family medicine/general practice and community health. The journal publishes relevant content across disciplines such as epidemiology, public health, social and preventive medicine, research and evidence based medicine, community health service, patient education and health promotion and health ethics. The journal has a specific focus on the management of chronic illness particularly diabetes, ischaemic heart disease, chronic heart failure, hypertension, bronchial asthma, chronic obstructive airways disease and common mental illness. FMCH is published by Compuscript http://www.compuscript.com on behalf of the Chinese General Practice Press http://www.chinagp.net.

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