Health care services use among long-term breast cancer survivors: a systematic review

Anna Jansana, Margarita Posso, Inmaculada Guerrero, Alexandra Prados-Torres, Maria Isabel Del Cura, Xavier Castells, Maria Sala

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearch

5 Citations (Scopus)


© 2019, The Author(s). Purpose: Long-term breast cancer survivors are women surviving at least 5 years after diagnosis. This systematic review aimed to summarize the main characteristics and patterns of healthcare service use (frequency of visits, health providers visited, and preventive care performed) among long-term breast cancer survivors. Methods: We used standard Cochrane Collaboration methods and searched the MEDLINE and EMBASE databases up to January 2018. We included English language observational studies reporting health service use among long-term cancer survivors. The quality of the studies was appraised through the ROBINS-I assessment tool. Two independent reviewers performed both the study quality assessment and the data extraction. Results: A total of 23 observational studies were included that reported data on health services use by long-term breast cancer survivors. Despite heterogeneity among studies, about half of them reported that breast cancer survivors visited a medical provider at least once a year, as recommended by breast cancer survival guidelines. Although survivors visited medical providers with the recommended frequency, a substantial number used specialist care instead of primary care during follow-up. The results showed underuse of the recommended annual mammogram. Conclusions: Long-term breast cancer survivors differ in their health services use with regard to the frequency of visits as well as the health providers seen. Our results indicate the need for active surveillance through primary care providers in coordination with specialized care. Implications for cancer survivors: This review could help to standardize the management of breast cancer survivors and decision-makers to adapt their guidelines and clinical protocols.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Cancer Survivorship
Publication statusPublished - 15 Jun 2019


  • Breast cancer
  • Health services
  • Mammography
  • Preventive care
  • Survivorship


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