Breast cancer patients prefer nurse telephone follow-up

Patients prefer nurse specialist telephone follow-up after breast cancer rather than a hospital appointment with a doctor, according to research.

Photograph: istockphoto/Ron Hohenhaus
Photograph: istockphoto/Ron Hohenhaus

A Manchester University study identified 374 women treated for breast cancer at two NHS hospitals in the north-west of England who were at low to moderate risk of recurrence.

Participants were split randomly into two groups.

One received traditional hospital follow up (10-minute consultation and breast exam by a doctor) and the other telephone follow up (20-minute consultation with no clinical exam by trained specialist nurse). Both received mammograms.

The researchers found that the telephone group were no more anxious as a result of foregoing clinical exams and face-to-face consults, and reported higher levels of satisfaction than the hospital group.

The number of clinical investigations ordered did not differ between groups and there were no differences in time taken to detect recurrent disease, according to BMJ Online.

  • Should more consultations be telephone rather than face-to-face?

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