Oncologists' perceived barriers to an expanded role for primary care in breast cancer survivorship care

Heather B. Neuman, Elizabeth A. Jacobs, Nicole M. Steffens, Nora Jacobson, Amye Tevaarwerk, Lee G. Wilke, Jennifer Tucholka, Caprice C. Greenberg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


Concern exists about the sustainability of traditional, oncologist-led models of breast cancer survivorship care. However, many oncologists are hesitant about deferring survivorship care to primary care providers (PCPs). Our objective was to examine oncologists' perceptions of the role PCPs play in breast cancer survivorship and the rationale underlying these perceptions. One-on-one interviews with medical, radiation, and surgical oncologists in Wisconsin were conducted (n = 35) and transcribed. Data analysis was performed using an inductive approach to content analysis. Oncologist-perceived barriers included: PCP's level of experience with cancer care; Lack of PCP comfort in providing survivorship care; Existing demands on PCPs' time; Patient preference for oncology-led survivorship care. Oncologists described familiarity and trust in individual PCPs as factors that could mitigate barriers and lead to increased PCP involvement in survivorship care. Although a number of perceived barriers to PCP participation in survivorship were identified by Wisconsin oncologists, our findings support the direction of ongoing initiatives to facilitate PCP involvement. Our findings also suggest that early PCP involvement in survivorship may increase PCP comfort and patients' trust in PCPs in this role. The identified barrier most challenging to address may be the limited capacity of the current primary care system to manage follow-up for breast cancer survivors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2198-2204
Number of pages7
JournalCancer Medicine
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 1 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Breast cancer
  • cancer surveillance
  • cancer survivorship
  • primary care

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Cancer Research


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