Virtual Breast Cancer Survivorship Clinic
Patients diagnosed with early stage breast cancer receive chemotherapy and radiation therapy at tertiary, associate or community cancer centres in Alberta. Once the oncologist feels it is appropriate (often after the completion of active treatment or after initiation of hormonal therapy if indicated), patients are discharged from the cancer centre to the care of their family physician and/or surgeon in the community. Although guidelines are available to patients and care givers in the community, it is unclear whether the guidelines are being followed. For example, many studies done in the US and Canada have suggested that women followed in the community often discontinue oral hormonal therapies prior to the prescibed time line, and this could impact disease free and overall survival. There is also a concern that women in the community may not have access to up-to-date information on the role of exercise, diet and other lifestyle modifications that may be of benefit in decreasing the risk of recurrent disease.
This study has been designed to assess the need for a virtual, or telephone-based breast cancer clinic for women who have completed their initial cancer treatment and may have been discharged from a cancer centre. Specifically, the study will explore what follow-up care breast cancer survivors are currently receiving and their adherence to published guidelines. Additionally, it will explore potential barriers to patients receiving the recommended follow-up examinations, mammographpy, etc.
Approximately 750 women across the province, who have received treatment for early stage breast cancer at the Tom Baker Cancer Centre (Calgary) or the Cross Cancer Institute (Edmonton) will be invited to participate in this study through the mail. Approximately 250 women who have identified interest in participating in the study will be contacted to complete a telephone interview with a researcher.
Results for this study will be posted once they are available. Estimated date of completion: Summer 2011.