Barriers for GPs in cancer treatment

A GP survey attracting 649 responses found that a majority of GPs were comfortable with prevention (86%) and initial diagnosis (85%).

“For post-operative management it was only 45% and co-ordination of treatment was 41%,” said lead researcher Dr Claire Johnson (PhD), assistant professor at the School of Surgery, University of Western Australia.

Fewer GPs were interested in monitoring recurrence or providing psychological support (both 70%), or palliative care and follow-up after treatment (both 68%), she said, adding that poor communication with specialists was a barrier.

University of Sydney professor of medicine Martin Tattersall said gaining access to even tablet forms of cancer drugs had become “very bureaucratised” and posed a further hurdle to wider GP involvement.

“The view of many GPs is active treatment is best done not in their context… but when the treatment is finished they are more happy to

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