This research project is in progress. PCORI will post the research findings on this page within 90 days after the results are final.
What is the research about?
Advances in cancer care mean that most people with cancer now live long past when they are treated. More than 14 million Americans have survived cancer. However, cancer survivors have an increased chance of getting cancer again or of having other long-term health problems in the future.
A survivorship care plan is one way to help cancer patients stay healthy after treatment. Survivorship care plans lay out a plan for follow-up care, in addition to summarizing the care a patient has received. Follow-up care includes screening tests patients should get in the future and steps they can take to reduce the chance that their cancer will come back or that they will have a new health problem. Since 2015, the Commission on Cancer has required cancer clinics to provide their patients with survivorship care plans to stay accredited.
In this study, the research team is comparing three ways of providing cancer patients with a survivorship care plan:
- Sending the care plan to patients at home
- Giving patients the care plan during a clinic visit
- Giving patients the care plan during a clinic visit and then following up on the plan at another clinic visit about six months later
The team wants to find out how often patients receive recommended follow-up cancer care when they get their care plan in one of these three different ways.
Who can this research help?
Results can help cancer clinic directors decide how to offer survivorship care plans to their patients.
What is the research team doing?
The research team is enrolling 375 adult patients who have completed treatment for breast, prostate, or colorectal cancer at four cancer clinics. The team is assigning patients by chance to one of three groups. In the first group, the provider sends the care plan to the patient’s home within three months of the patient completing treatment. In the second group, the patient receives the care plan at a clinic visit with a provider who explains the plan and answers any patient questions. In the third group, the patient receives the care plan at a clinic visit and then has a follow-up visit about six months later to review the plan with the provider and ask any new questions.
The research team is collecting information about patients from medical records and surveys that patients complete at the beginning of the study and again at 6, 12, and 18 months after treatment. The team is comparing how often patients in each of the three groups receive the care listed in their care plans. The team is also comparing how often patients say they use health care, whether they have concerns about their cancer, and what they know about preparing for life as a cancer survivor.
A group of patients with cancer, caregivers, oncologists, and primary care providers is helping to design and conduct the study. The group is also helping to publicize results of the study.