Background: Cancer survivors are a large and growing population, whose needs are not well met by traditional models of care.
Aim: to implement a triage model of care within the context of an academic cancer survivorship clinic.
Methods: Cancer survivors attended the NSW Cancer Survivors Centre (NSW CSC) for a single visit with a medical oncologist. Patients underwent comprehensive assessment of physical, psychological and practical sequelae of their cancer and its treatment and individualised Cancer Survivorship Care Plans were developed with recommendations for cancer follow-up care, general health, lifestyle, psychosocial and practical issues. All visits were Medicare funded with no out-of-pocket cost to patients.
Results: 23 survivors have attended the NSW CSC to date, with 22 giving consent for data to be used for research purposes. Survivors had a mean age of 59 (range 29 – 78), were a median of 2 years since their primary diagnosis (range 3 months – 37 years) and 60% were female. The majority of attendees had a primary cancer diagnosis of colorectal (46%) or breast cancer (23%), with smaller numbers of other primary sites represented (lymphoma, leukaemia, head and neck cancer, testicular cancer). Two attendees had experienced a second cancer. A median of 5 survivorship issues were identified (range 3 – 9). The most commonly identified survivorship care issues were physical inactivity (14), fatigue (11), metabolic syndrome (10), care co-ordination (9), mood disturbance (8), neuropathy (7), and cancer screening (5). Equal numbers were referred by their oncologist (10) or self-referred (10) to the service, with the remainder referred by exercise physiologists affiliated with the NSW CSC.Conclusions: A triage model of care for cancer survivors is feasible within existing funding mechanisms and identifies a range of oncological, general health and psychosocial issues which may subsequently be addressed. These survivors will form the beginning of a cohort whose outcomes will be prospectively reported.