Acta Oncol 2019 May 30;58(5):619-626. Epub 2019 Jan 30.
a Survivorship Unit , Danish Cancer Society Research Center , Copenhagen , Denmark.
Traditionally, women treated for breast cancer (BC) have been followed up through regular oncologist-led visits in outpatient clinics, focusing on detection of recurrences, new primary BC, symptom management, and psychological support. However, this follow-up routine is expensive and its effectiveness has been questioned. Consequently, alternative follow-up programs have been tested. The Guided Self-Determination method (GSD), which facilitates partnership between health-care provider and patient, has been shown to improve self-management in patients with chronic conditions, including cancer. Patient-reported outcomes (PRO) is another increasingly used tool to improve patient-provider communication, symptom monitoring and control. In combination, GSD and PRO may have the potential to meet the objectives of BC follow-up. To test this, we developed the MyHealth study, a randomized controlled trial comparing a nurse-led follow-up program based on GSD, collection of PRO, and patient navigation with routine oncologist-led follow-up. Here we describe how we developed the intervention and are currently testing the feasibility of the MyHealth protocol in terms of recruitment, adherence to the intervention, collection of PRO, and patient navigation. We have invited the first 25 consecutively enrolled patients to test the MyHealth intervention. This consists of (1) 3-5 initial GSD appointments with a nurse, (2) collection of PRO, and (3) symptom management and patient navigation. The randomized trial was launched in January 2017 and is still recruiting. Of 32 patients invited, 25 accepted participation. At 18-month follow-up, two patients have withdrawn, 143 PRO questionnaires have been completed (mean 5.7/patient) resulting in 59 nurse contacts (mean 2.4 per patient) and 14 project physician contacts (mean 0.6 per patient). A high recruitment rate and response rate to PRO indicate that follow-up led by specialist nurses, based on collection of PRO is feasible and acceptable for patients treated for early stage BC.