Breast cancer follow up: a randomised controlled trial comparing point of need access versus routine 6-monthly clinical review

C. Sheppard, Bernard Higgins, M. Wise, C. Yiangou, D. Dubois, Sally Kilburn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Aim: To examine a model of care for breast cancer patients based on the concept of point of need access and investigate the effectiveness of this model compared to routine 6-monthly clinical reviews. Design: A parallel randomised controlled trial was used to examine point of need access to specialist care via the nurse specialist, compared to routine hospital based 6-monthly clinical review at year two post breast cancer diagnosis. A total of 237 patients were recruited to the study. Methods: Outcome measures at baseline, 9 and 18 months included psychological morbidity using the GHQ12 questionnaire, quality of life using the FACT-B plus endocrine subscale, fear and isolation. An analysis of covariance was used to detect changes over time. Recurrences and methods of detection were recorded as secondary outcome measures. Results: Two hundred and fourteen patients completed the study. Overall patients were not exposed to risks of increased psychological morbidity (p = 0.767) or decline of quality of life (p = 0.282) when routine review was discontinued and no significant differences were detected during an 18-month period. Patients not receiving regular review did not feel isolated, and at the end of 18 months did not wish to return to 6-monthly clinical reviews. The presentation of recurrences and short symptom history demonstrate that the recurrences observed were unlikely to have been detected at a routine visit. Conclusions: Point of need access is acceptable to the majority of patients. Although a third of patients may wish to maintain a regular review, patient choice is important. Findings suggest that after 2 years following the diagnosis of breast cancer there is no evidence to support the view that regular clinical review improves psychological morbidity or quality of life. Patients do not appear to be compromised in terms of early detection of recurrence. Point of need access can be provided by suitably trained specialist nurses and provides a fast, responsive management system at a time when patients really need it. (c) 2008 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2-8
Number of pages7
JournalEuropean Journal of Oncology Nursing
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2009


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