Psychosocial care for cancer survivors: A systematic literature review on the role of general practitioners

L. Deckx*, K.H. Chow, D. Askew, M.L. van Driel, G.K. Mitchell, M. van den Akker

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journal(Systematic) Review article peer-review

2 Citations (Web of Science)

Abstract

Objective: To explore the general practitioners (GP's) role in providing psychosocial care for cancer survivors through a systematic literature review.Methods: We searched MEDLINE, EMBASE, PsycINFO, and CINAHL and included the studies that complied with the predefined inclusion and exclusion criteria. At least two independent reviewers performed the quality appraisal and data extraction.Results: We included 33 (five qualitative, 19 observational, and nine intervention) studies; the majority of these studies focused on care for depression and anxiety (21/33). Cancer survivors were more likely to contact their GP for psychosocial problems compared with noncancer controls. Survivors were more likely to use antidepressants compared with controls, although 71% of survivors preferred depression treatment to be "talking therapy only." Overall, GPs and patients mostly agreed that GPs are the preferred healthcare provider to manage psychosocial problems. The major exception is a survivor's fear of recurrence-here, the oncologist was the preferred healthcare provider. Only two interventions effectively decreased depression or anxiety; these studies included patients who had a clinical indication for psychosocial care, were specifically designed for decreasing depression/anxiety, and consisted of a multidisciplinary team approach. The other interventions evaluated GP-led follow-up for cancer survivors and found that this did not impact the patients' levels of anxiety, depression, or distress neither negatively nor positively.Conclusions: Cancer survivors often prefer psychosocial care by their GP, and GPs generally consider they are well placed to provide this care. Although evidence on the effectiveness of psychosocial care by GPs is limited, an active multidisciplinary team approach seems key.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)444-454
Number of pages11
JournalPsycho-Oncology
Volume30
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2021

Keywords

  • cancer
  • cancer survivors
  • follow-up care
  • general practice
  • integrated collaborative care
  • loneliness
  • long-term
  • major depression
  • mental health
  • neoplasms
  • oncology
  • patient satisfaction
  • physicians
  • preferences
  • psychosocial
  • randomized controlled-trial
  • stage breast-cancer
  • RANDOMIZED CONTROLLED-TRIAL
  • INTEGRATED COLLABORATIVE CARE
  • PHYSICIANS
  • PATIENT SATISFACTION
  • FOLLOW-UP CARE
  • LONG-TERM
  • STAGE BREAST-CANCER
  • LONELINESS
  • MAJOR DEPRESSION
  • PREFERENCES

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