“This is really a problem created by our successes,” said Dr Michael Link, president of the American Society of Clinical Oncology. The findings underscore the need for better communication between cancer specialists and primary-care doctors.
For the study, Dr Larissa Nekhlyudov of Harvard Medical School surveyed 1072 primary-care doctors and 1130 cancer specialists. The doctors were asked which of five side effects they had observed most often in their practices or seen reported for doxorubicin, paclitaxel, oxaliplatin and cyclophosphamide.
The researchers found that only six percent of primary-care doctors were able to identify the main long term side effects of all four of the chemotherapy drugs.
According to Dr Nekhlyudov, the finding was not a surprise, but it underscores the need for better communication between cancer specialists and primary care doctors.
Most oncologists surveyed were able to correctly identify these same late effects, although there was also need for improvement among these specialists’ knowledge of the late effects which ranged from 62% to 97% for the four drugs.
Source: Reuters Health