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Specialized survivor clinic attendance increases adherence to cardiomyopathy screening guidelines in adult survivors of childhood cancer

Marr KC, Agha M, Sutradhar R, Pole JD, Hodgson D, Guttmann A, Greenberg M, Nathan PC. J Cancer Surviv. 2017; Aug 7 [Epub ahead of print].

Purpose — To determine if attendance at a specialized clinic for adult survivors of childhood cancer is associated with better rates of adherence to the Children’s Oncology Group (COG) Long-term Follow-up (LTFU) guidelines for cardiomyopathy screening.

Methods — We conducted a retrospective population-based study using administrative data in Ontario, Canada of 5-year survivors diagnosed between 1986 and 2005 at risk of therapy-related late cardiomyopathy. Patients were classified into three groups based on the recommended frequency of screening: annual, every 2 years, and every 5 years.

Results — Of 1811 eligible survivors followed for median 7.8 years (range 0–14.0), patients were adherent to screening for only 8.6% of their period of follow-up. Survivor clinic utilization had the strongest association with increased rates of adherence: when compared to no attendance, ≥ 5 clinic visits/10-year period had RR of adherence of 10.6 (95% CI 5.7–19.5) in the annual group, 3.3 (95% CI 2.3–4.8) in the every 2-year group, and 2.3 (95% CI 1.6–3.2) in the every 5-year group. Additional factors associated with increased adherence after adjusting for clinic attendance included annual assessment by a general practioner, female sex, diagnosis prior to 2003, and living in a rural area.

Conclusions — In a model of specialized survivor care, increased clinic utilization is associated with improved patient adherence to COG LTFU cardiomyopathy screening guidelines.

Implications for Cancer Survivors —Specialized survivor clinics may improve health outcomes in survivors through improved adherence to screening. However, rates of adherence remain suboptimal and further multifacetted strategies need to be explored to improve overall rates of screening in adult survivors of childhood cancer.