Journal Article

Optimising patient-initiated follow-up care: A qualitative analysis of women with breast cancer in the UK


Purpose: Current policy in the United Kingdom (UK) recommends that people with breast cancer (PWBC) are managed in follow-up pathways that suit their needs. With an increasing trend towards patient-initiated follow-up (PIFU) pathways for PWBC, this study conducted qualitative research exploring PWBC’s experiences of a nurse-led PIFU service (termed ‘Supported Early Discharge’) to inform how PIFU pathways could be optimised. Method: PWBC on a PIFU pathway were recruited from two UK hospitals (one large cancer centre, one district general hospital) as part of a wider mixed-methods study (N=118). Following completion of a series of surveys, a purposive subsample of 20 women were interviewed in-depth about their experiences. Thematic analysis was conducted.  Results: The majority of participants described positive views towards being on PIFU; however a significant minority struggled with uncertainties and difficulties related to: accessing ongoing care and support; performing breast self-examination (BSE); managing ongoing treatment side-effects; and fear of recurrence. Themes included: self-efficacy to manage own health; barriers and facilitators to help-seeking on a PIFU pathway; effective information sharing about side effects; preferences for personalised care; emotional wellbeing on PIFU- influences on fear of recurrence. A novel conceptual model is presented that highlights influences on self-management during PIFU. Conclusions: Findings highlight ways in which PIFU pathways could be further optimised through greater and more effective education on BSE and recognising signs of recurrence, information on when and how to seek further help with any problems, targeted provision of psychological support, and clearer signposting to support for ongoing side-effects.

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Moore, Lyndel
Matheson, Lauren
Brett, Jo
Lavender, Verna
Kendall, Anne
Lavery, Bernadette
Watson, Eila

Oxford Brookes departments

Oxford School of Nursing and Midwifery


Year of publication: 2022
Date of RADAR deposit: 2022-07-19

Creative Commons License This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License

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