Experiences of follow-up after treatment in patients with prostate cancer: a qualitative study
OBJECTIVE To develop an understanding of experiences of follow-up in patients with prostate cancer, to seek explanations as to why men’s needs might not be well met, and explore views on the possible role of primary care in follow-up. The experiences of these patients, and views on the delivery of follow-up care, have been relatively neglected compared to those diagnosed with other cancers. PATIENTS AND METHODS In all, 35 patients were recruited from 20 practices across three regions in the UK. Maximum variation was sought by purposely sampling by age (59–82 years), treatment, length (0.75–14 years) and mode of follow-up. RESULTS Patients’ descriptions of the content and organization of follow-up showed the shortcomings of follow-up, which included system failings causing patients to be lost to follow-up, and unmet psychosexual needs. Patients were mainly positive about the prospect of follow-up taking place outside the hospital setting. However, some expressed concerns about current follow-up practices and suggested several improvements that need considering if primary care were to take a greater role. CONCLUSION This study identified some general deficiencies with the current system of follow-up, and our data indicate that primary care could have a role in addressing some of these.