Follow-up care delivery among colorectal cancer survivors most often seen by primary and subspecialty care physicians

David A. Haggstrom, Neeraj K. Arora, Paul Helft, Marla L. Clayman, Ingrid Oakley-Girvan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

38 Scopus citations


Background: The Institute of Medicine has identified patients as a key source of information for assessing the quality of care. Objective: To evaluate the association of physician specialty with the content and quality of follow-up cancer care. Design and Participants: Three hundred three colorectal cancer (CRC) survivors in Northern California were surveyed 2-5 years post-diagnosis. Measurements: Specialty of physician seen most often [primary care physician (PCP), oncologist, surgeon, or gastroenterologist]; other physician specialties seen; patient characteristics; content of visits; patient-centered quality of follow-up care (communication, coordination, nursing, and staff interactions). Main Results: A minority (16%) of CRC survivors reported that the doctor they most often saw for follow-up cancer care was a PCP, while 60% saw an oncologist. Many CRC survivors (40%) saw >1 physician for follow-up cancer care. Survivors most often seen by PCPs were more likely to have three or more medical comorbidities (70% vs. 51%, p∈=∈0.012) than survivors seen by subspecialty physicians. Survivors seen by PCPs were less likely to report seeing a doctor for medical tests and more likely to report discussing disease prevention (82% vs. 64%, p∈=∈0.012) or diet (70% vs. 48%, p∈=∈0.005) with their doctor. There were no significant specialty differences in patient-centered quality of follow-up cancer care. Conclusions: Cancer survivors' assessment of the quality of care was similar across specialties, while the content of follow-up cancer care varied by physician specialty. These findings provide important information about the potential value of primary care and the need for coordination when delivering care to CRC survivors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)S472-S479
JournalJournal of general internal medicine
Issue numberSUPPL. 2
StatePublished - Nov 2009


  • Cancer survivorship
  • Colorectal cancer
  • Health services research
  • Patient-centered care
  • Primary care
  • Quality assessment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Internal Medicine

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