Effectiveness of Advanced Practice Providers in Providing Survivorship Care


Key Points

  • All patients underwent appropriate screening for recurrence.
  • 83% to 100% underwent screening for new primary cancers.

In a single-center retrospective analysis reported in the Journal of Oncology Practice, Thom et al found that advanced practice providers—nurse practitioners and physician assistants—were effective in providing survivorship care to adult patients with cancer in accordance with Institute of Medicine standards.

The study involved review of care procedures among advanced practice providers in three survivorship clinics at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. Among 9,052 unique survivorship visits over 2 years, visits for 210 patients with breast cancer, 208 patients with prostate cancer, and 204 patients with colorectal cancer were randomly selected for review.

Provision of Care

All patients with breast cancer underwent surveillance for recurrence and 99% were screened for new primary cancers. Discussion of designated health promotion activities occurred at 83% to 100% of visits. Ninety-one percent of patients were reviewed for management of physical symptoms, and 93% had discussions about the management of psychological symptoms.

All patients with prostate cancer underwent recurrence surveillance, and 97% had a screening colonoscopy for new primary cancer. Discussion of health promotion activities occurred at 70% to 97% of visits, and physical and psychological symptom management was discussed at 89% of visits.

All patients with colorectal cancer underwent surveillance colonoscopy for recurrence, and 97% had a carcinoembryonic antigen test. Among female colorectal cancer survivors, 97% had mammograms and 96% had a Papanicolaou test. Among male survivors, 83% had a prostate-specific antigen test. Discussion of health promotion activities occurred at 69% to 100% of visits. Symptom management was discussed at 93% to 97% of visits.

The investigators concluded, “Findings suggest that advanced practice providers can provide survivorship care in accordance with Institute of Medicine standards, which provide a normative standard. This assessment is an important step in evaluating survivorship outcomes.”

Bridgette Thom, MS, of Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, is the corresponding author for the Journal of Oncology Practice article.

Disclosure: The study was supported in part by a grant from the National Cancer Institute. The study authors’ full disclosures can be found at

The content in this post has not been reviewed by the American Society of Clinical Oncology, Inc. (ASCO®) and does not necessarily reflect the ideas and opinions of ASCO®.