Providing breast cancer survivorship: lessons learned from a pilot project implementation
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BACKGROUND: Many cancer survivors have gaps in knowledge of their disease and treatments received. OBJECTIVE: The goal of this project was to evaluate the development and implementation of a pilot breast cancer survivorship program aimed at decreasing the gap in patient knowledge of disease and treatment, from both the staff and patient perspectives. METHODS: A mixed methods approach used data from multiple sources: (1) historical data, (2) medical record review, (3) a mailed patient questionnaire, (4) 1:1 semistructured telephone interviews with patients, and (5) 1:1 semistructured interviews with staff members. RESULTS: The implementation of the pilot survivorship program resulted in increased patient knowledge of disease and treatments received. The majority of breast cancer survivors (80%) reported that the survivorship packet given at the end of treatment met most or all of their needs, and half reported that they did not feel they needed a 1:1 survivorship visit. The 20 staff interviews validated that most staff (80%) were able to accurately define cancer survivorship and aspects of providing survivorship care; however, 50% reported that they felt they needed more training. CONCLUSIONS: The pilot program was successful in increasing patient knowledge. Informal education and written material provided throughout the course of cancer care were found to meet most patient needs. Cancer center staff desire more training on providing survivorship care. IMPLICATIONS FOR PRACTICE: Survivorship care may be best provided through educational interventions began at diagnosis and provided on an ongoing basis.
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