Utilization of internet-based survivorship care plans by lung cancer survivors

Christine E Hill-Kayser, Carolyn Vachani, Margaret K Hampshire, Linda A Jacobs, James M Metz
Clinical Lung Cancer 2009, 10 (5): 347-52

BACKGROUND: Persons living after lung cancer remain an important subset of the cancer survivor population who may be at risk for serious health consequences of lung cancer and its treatments. The Institute of Medicine recommends survivorship care plans for all cancer survivors.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: A program for the creation of survivorship care plans, OncoLife, was made publicly accessible. Users responded to queries regarding demographics, diagnosis, and treatment and received comprehensive, individualized guidelines for future care addressing issues such as late toxicity, second malignancy, fertility, and tumor recurrence. Data were maintained anonymously with approval from the Institutional Review Board.

RESULTS: From May 2007 to November 2008, 3343 individuals completed OncoLife surveys. Lung cancer survivors comprised 4% (n=142), with a median age at diagnosis of 57 years and median current age of 59 years. Lung cancer survivors were 50% male and 83% Caucasian. Chemotherapy was used in the treatment of 78% of patients with lung cancer, radiation was used in 58%, and surgery was used in 38%. Most lung cancer survivors (62%) reported receiving follow-up care from only an oncologist, while 27% reported being monitored by a primary care provider (PCP) and an oncologist, and 6% saw only a PCP. Only 11% reported receiving survivorship information at the conclusion of therapy.

CONCLUSION: OncoLife represents the first Web-based program for the creation of survivorship care plans, and lung cancer survivors appear willing to use this type of tool. Most have received multimodality care, placing them at risk for treatment-related late effects. Most survivors do not report receiving routine care from a PCP, so attention to survivor healthcare needs by the oncology community is particularly important.

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