The Johns Hopkins Breast Cancer Survivorship program incorporates a multidisciplinary strategy that patients said helped them transition away from treatment, according to a presenter.
The number of breast cancer survivors is increasing due to the aging population and improved treatment outcomes; however, many survivors report their medical and psychosocial needs are not met.
“When we are caring for patients, we are looking at overall health, not just breast cancer,” Elissa Throner Bantug, MHS, project director of the Johns Hopkins Breast Cancer Survivorship Program at the Johns Hopkins Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center, said during a presentation. “There are a lot of emotional issues patients face as they end their cancer.”
Johns Hopkins established its breast cancer survivorship program in 2008. The program — a collaboration between the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, School of Nursing, School of Public Health and School of Medicine — was designed to enhance care coordination and education for patients who complete their initial treatments and transition to long-term follow-up.
“Our major goal was to develop an integrated multidisciplinary approach to survivorship … and provide one-on-one patient-centered care,” Bantug said.
The program’s website, which averages 3,000 hits per month, includes blogs, social media resources and more than 35 educational video clips that feature patients and providers.
The program also offers educational events for providers.
Beginning in May 2011, patients were offered a one-time transitional visit with a nurse practitioner who focused on individualized treatment summaries and survivorship care plans. Those plans included detailed recommendations related to screening/surveillance, psychosocial support and care coordination with noncancer health providers.
Forty patients (median age, 51 years) participated in the pilot phase. In a visit after the survey, 37 patients (97%) said they found the visit beneficial. All participants reported that the one-time consultation helped as they transitioned away from treatment.
“A multidisciplinary, patient-centered approach to breast cancer survivorship allowed us to develop comprehensive clinical and educational service models to benefit patients and their cancer/non-cancer providers,” Bantug and colleagues concluded. “This program aims to enhance education, overcome the fragmentation of the health care system, and improve overall health and wellness of breast cancer survivors as they transition to long-term survivorship.”
For more information:
Bantug ET. Abstract #61. Presented at: 2012 Breast Cancer Symposium; Sept. 13-15, 2012; San Francisco.
Disclosure: The researchers report no relevant financial disclosures.