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Primary Care Physician Perceptions of Adult Survivors of Childhood Cancer

Sima, Jody L. MD; Perkins, Susan M. PhD; Haggstrom, David A. MD, MAS

Journal of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology: March 2014 - Volume 36 - Issue 2 - p 118–124
doi: 10.1097/MPH.0000000000000061
Original Articles

Increasing cure rates for childhood cancers have resulted in a population of adult childhood cancer survivors (CCS) that are at risk for late effects of cancer-directed therapy. Our objective was to identify facilitators and barriers to primary care physicians (PCPs) providing late effects screening and evaluate information tools PCPs perceive as useful. We analyzed surveys from 351 practicing internal medicine and family practice physicians nationwide. A minority of PCPs perceived that their medical training was adequate to recognize late effects of chemotherapy (27.6%), cancer surgery (36.6%), and radiation therapy (38.1%). Most PCPs (93%) had never used Children’s Oncology Group guidelines, but 86% would follow their recommendations. Most (84% to 86%) PCPs stated that they had never received a cancer treatment summary or survivorship care plan but (>90%) thought these documents would be useful. PCPs have a low level of awareness and receive inadequate training to recognize late effects. Overall, PCPs infrequently utilize guidelines, cancer treatment summaries, and survivorship care plans, although they perceive such tools as useful. We have identified gaps to address when providing care for CCS in routine general medical practice.

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*Department of Pediatrics, SUNY Upstate Medical University, Syracuse, NY

Indiana University School of Medicine

VA Health Services Research & Development Center for Health Information and Communication, Roudebush VAMC

§Department of Medicine, Division of General Internal Medicine and Geriatrics, Indiana University School of Medicine

IU Center for Health Services and Outcomes Research, Regenstrief Institute Inc., Indianapolis, IN

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Supported by General Clinical Research Center M01 RR00750 (J.L.S. and S.M.P.), VA HSR&D Career Development Award CD207016-2 (D.A.H.), and NIH/NCRR Grant Number RR025761 (S.M.P.).

Its contents are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official views of the Department of Veterans Affairs or federal government. The authors declare no conflict of interest.

Reprints: Jody L. Sima, MD, Center for Children’s Cancer and Blood Disorders, Upstate Medical University Hospital, 750 E Adams St, Syracuse, NY 13210-2306 (e-mail:

Received December 7, 2012

Accepted October 1, 2013

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