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The Role of Family Physicians in Cancer Care: Perspectives of Primary and Specialty Care Providers

by 1,*, 1, 2, 2,3, 4, 2 and 2 for the Canadian Team to Improve Community-Based Cancer Care Along the Continuum
1
Dalhousie University, Family Medicine Teaching Unit, Fredericton, NB, Canada
2
University of Toronto, Department of Family and Community Medicine, Toronto, ON, Canada
3
Sinai Health System, Toronto, ON, Canada
4
University of Alberta, Department of Family Medicine, Edmonton, AB, Canada
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Curr. Oncol. 2017, 24(2), 75-80; https://doi.org/10.3747/co.24.3447
Received: 8 January 2017 / Revised: 7 February 2017 / Accepted: 2 March 2017 / Published: 1 April 2017
Background: Currently, the specific role of family physicians (fps) in the care of people with cancer is not well defined. Our goal was to explore physician perspectives and contextual factors related to the coordination of cancer care and the role of fps. Methods: Using a constructivist grounded theory approach, we conducted telephone interviews with 58 primary and cancer specialist health care providers from across Canada. Results: The participants—21 fps, 15 surgeons, 12 medical oncologists, 6 radiation oncologists, and 4 general practitioners in oncology—were asked to describe both the role that fps currently play and the role that, in their opinion, fps should play in the future care of cancer patients across the cancer continuum. Participants identified 3 key roles: coordinating cancer care, managing comorbidities, and providing psychosocial care to patients and their families. However, fps and specialists discussed many challenges that prevent fps from fully performing those roles: (1) The fps described communication problems resulting from not being kept “in the loop” because they weren’t copied on patient reports and also the lack of clearly defined roles for all the various health care providers involved in providing care to cancer patients. (2) The specialists expressed concerns about a lack of patient access to fp care, leaving specialists to fill the care gaps. The fps and specialists both recommended additional training and education for fps in survivorship care, cancer screening, genetic testing, and new cancer treatments. Conclusions: Better communication, more collaboration, and further education are needed to enhance the role of fps in the care of cancer patients.
Keywords: family physicians; cancer specialists; communication; qualitative studies family physicians; cancer specialists; communication; qualitative studies
MDPI and ACS Style

Easley, J.; Miedema, B.; O’Brien, M.A.; Carroll, J.; Manca, D.; Webster, F.; Grunfeld, E., for the Canadian Team to Improve Community-Based Cancer Care Along the Continuum; The Role of Family Physicians in Cancer Care: Perspectives of Primary and Specialty Care Providers. Curr. Oncol. 2017, 24, 75-80. https://doi.org/10.3747/co.24.3447

AMA Style

Easley J, Miedema B, O’Brien MA, Carroll J, Manca D, Webster F, Grunfeld E for the Canadian Team to Improve Community-Based Cancer Care Along the Continuum. The Role of Family Physicians in Cancer Care: Perspectives of Primary and Specialty Care Providers. Current Oncology. 2017; 24(2):75-80. https://doi.org/10.3747/co.24.3447

Chicago/Turabian Style

Easley, J.; Miedema, B.; O’Brien, M.A.; Carroll, J.; Manca, D.; Webster, F.; Grunfeld, E. for the Canadian Team to Improve Community-Based Cancer Care Along the Continuum 2017. "The Role of Family Physicians in Cancer Care: Perspectives of Primary and Specialty Care Providers" Curr. Oncol. 24, no. 2: 75-80. https://doi.org/10.3747/co.24.3447

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