Knowledge on chronic medical conditions in childhood cancer survivors (CCSs) is constantly growing and underlines that long-term follow-up (LTFU) care is often mandatory, also in adulthood. However, many CCSs discontinue follow-up care after transition to adult care. One reason might be that the current transition practices do not meet the needs of adolescent and young adult CCSs. We therefore aim to evaluate different transition models for Swiss CCSs by assessing their cancer knowledge, cancer worries, self-management skills, and expectations for LTFU care, following transition in two different hospital-based models.
Within the Aftercare of Childhood Cancer Survivors (ACCS) study, we performed a questionnaire-based survey with a cross-sectional and longitudinal part. We included 5-year CCSs aged >16 years at recruitment who were transitioned to adult care in two hospitals between 2014 and 2021. Here, we report the results of the cross-sectional part. We compared the survivors’ cancer knowledge with medical record data and assessed cancer worries (6 questions), self-management skills (15 questions), and expectations (12 questions) by validated scales. We used descriptive statistics, chi-squared test, and t-tests to describe the results.
We analyzed 57 CCSs (response rate 44%), 60% of those were female, had a median age of 9 years at diagnosis and 23 years at the questionnaire. Most CCSs recalled their diagnosis (95%) and exposure to treatment modalities (98%) correctly. CCSs worried the most about potential late effects (47%) and issues with having children in the future (44%). At least 75% of CCSs agreed to 12 of the 15 self-management questions, indicating high self-management skills. The top three expectations included that physicians know the survivors’ cancer history, that visits start on time, and that physicians can always be called in case of questions.
CCSs receiving hospital-based LTFU care have good cancer knowledge and high self-management skills. The identified worries and expectations will help to improve the LTFU care of CCSs who transition to adult care, to further inform and educate survivors and healthcare professionals about and might be relevant for other countries with a similar healthcare system.