Follow-up after breast cancer: Variations, best practices, and opportunities for improvement according to health care professionals

Jet W. Ankersmid*, Jolanda C. van Hoeve, Luc J.A. Strobbe, Yvonne E.A. van Riet, Cornelia F. van Uden-Kraan, Sabine Siesling, Constance H.C. Drossaert

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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Objective: Follow-up after breast cancer can be divided into surveillance and aftercare. It remains unclear how follow-up can ideally be organised from the perspective of health care professionals (HCPs). The aim of this study was to gain insight in the organisation of follow-up in seven Dutch teaching hospitals and to identify best practices and opportunities for improvement of breast cancer (all stages) follow-up as proposed by HCPs.

Methods: Semi-structured in-depth group interviews were performed, one in each of the participating hospitals, with in total 16 HCPs and 2 patient advocates. To describe the organisation of follow-up, transcripts were analysed using a deductive approach. Best practices and opportunities were derived using an inductive approach.

Results: Variation was found in the organisation of aftercare, especially in timing, frequency, and disciplines of involved HCPs. Less variation was observed for surveillance, which was guided by the national guideline. Best practices focused on case management and adequate collaboration between HCPs of different disciplines. Mentioned opportunities were improving the structured monitoring of patients' needs and a comprehensive guideline for organisation and content of aftercare.

Conclusions: Variation in follow-up existed between hospitals. Shared decision-making (SDM) about surveillance is desirable to ensure that surveillance matches the patient needs, preferences, and personal risk for recurrences.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere13505
JournalEuropean journal of cancer care
Issue number6
Early online date27 Aug 2021
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2021


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