Research Article| Volume 20, ISSUE 1, P67-73, March 2013

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Cancer care coordinator: Promoting multidisciplinary care—A pilot study in Australian general practice



      We hypothesised that patients treated for breast cancer would benefit from targeted therapeutic action delivered by general practitioners on the recommendations of a multidisciplinary team based in primary care.


      Patients scheduled for follow-up visits at a hospital surgical clinic were invited to complete a self-administered care needs assessment and be interviewed by a breast care nurse. Members of the multidisciplinary team discussed the audio-recorded interviews within 2 weeks. The team made recommendations for each patient, which were presented to the general practitioner as a suggested ‘care plan’. Health status information was collected via the Short Form 36 and Anxiety and Depression data via the Hospital anxiety and Depression Scale at recruitment and 3 months later.


      Among the 74 women who were invited to participate, 21 were recruited over a 6-month period (28%), 19 of whom completed the study (90%). The mean age was 55 years (range 38–61 years) and the mean time in follow-up was 23 months (range 16–38 months). The team identified a median of three problems per patient (range 2–7) and made an average of two recommendations per patient for referral to an allied health professional (range 0–5). At 3 months, 17 women had attended their general practitioner, 11 of whom felt their condition had improved as a result of the intervention. There was no significant change in Short Form 36 or Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale score after the intervention.


      Primary care-based multidisciplinary review of treated breast cancer patients is feasible and, for most, results in benefit. However, only a minority of eligible patients participated in this pilot study and the logistics of organising the reviews warrants careful consideration.


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