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Br J Cancer. 2001 December; 85(12): 1853–1864.
PMCID: PMC2364007

Evaluation of nurse-led follow up for patients undergoing pelvic radiotherapy


This study reports results from a randomised controlled trial of nurse-led care and was designed to determine whether nurse-led follow up improved patients morbidity and satisfaction with care in men treated with radical radiotherapy for prostate and bladder cancer. The aim was to compare outcomes in terms of toxicity, symptoms experienced, quality of life, satisfaction with care and health care costs, between those receiving nurse-led care and a group receiving standard care. The study population was of men prescribed radical radiotherapy (greater than 60 Gy). Participants completed self-assessment questionnaires for symptoms and quality of life within the first week of radiotherapy treatment, at week 3, 6 and 12 weeks from start of radiotherapy. Satisfaction with clinical care was also assessed at 12 weeks post-treatment. Observer-rated RTOG toxicity scores were recorded pre-treatment, weeks 1, 3, 6 and 12 weeks from start of radiotherapy. The results presented in this paper are on 115 of 132 (87%) of eligible men who agreed to enter the randomised trial. 6 men (4%) refused and 11 (8%) were missed for inclusion in the study. Data were analysed as a comparison at cross-sectional time points and as a general linear model using multiple regression. There was no significant difference in maximum symptom scores over the time of the trial between nurse-led follow-up care and conventional medical care. Differences were seen in scores in the initial self assessment of symptoms (week 1) that may have been as a result of early nursing intervention. Those men who had received nurse-led care were significantly more satisfied (P < 0.002) at 12 weeks and valued the continuity of the service provided. There were also significant (P < 0.001) cost benefits, with a 31% reduction in costs with nurse-led, compared to medically led care. Evidence from this study suggests that a specialist nurse is able to provide safe follow up for men undergoing radiotherapy. The intervention focused on coping with symptoms, and provided continuity of care and telephone support. Further work is required to improve the management of patients during and after radiotherapy. © 2001 Cancer Research Campaign

Keywords: radiation, acute side effects, supportive care, nurse-led clinics

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Selected References

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