Shared breast cancer follow-up care involving a breast cancer specialist and a general practitioner (GP) has been demonstrated to be effective, yet barriers to participation in this model by women remain. This study explores the responses of women who recently finished active treatment for early breast cancer (EBC) to a proposed model of shared follow-up care to understand the type of information needed to support participation.
Qualitative study based on focus groups with women with EBC in the early stage of follow-up care from across metropolitan, regional and rural settings in Australia. Discussions were transcribed and thematic analysis is undertaken.
Four focus groups were conducted, involving 31 women aged between 32 and 78 years. The discussion focused on two topics. In the first topic ‘Current experiences of follow-up care’, two themes emerged: (i) follow-up as a continuation of active treatment; (ii) GPs involvement in care during active treatment influence attitudes to shared follow-up care. In the second topic area ‘Perceptions of shared follow-up care’ four themes emerged: (i) a need for evidence regarding model effectiveness; (ii) choice; (iii) concerns regarding capacity and capability of GPs to deliver care and (iv) the need for clear communication between GPs, specialists and women.
Women need information regarding the evidence for the effectiveness of shared follow-up care to assure them it does not pose a risk to their health outcomes. Clear descriptions of GP and specialist roles and the opportunity to jointly decide participation is essential for the model to be adopted.

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