Toward equitably high-quality cancer survivorship care

Tracy L.O. Truant, Colleen Varcoe, Carolyn C. Gotay, Sally Thorne


Although models of cancer survivorship care are rapidly evolving, there is increasing evidence of health disparities among cancer survivors. In the current context, Canada’s survivorship care systems privilege some and not others to receive high-quality care and optimize their health outcomes. The aim of this study was to improve survivorship care systems by helping clinicians and decision makers to a better understanding of how various psychosocial/political factors, survivors’ health experiences and health management strategies might shape the development of and access to high-quality survivorship care for Canadians with cancer. Using a nursing epistemological approach informed by critical and intersectional perspectives, we conducted a three-phased Interpretive Description study. We engaged in critical textual analysis of documentary sources, a secondary analysis of interview transcripts from an existing database, and qualitative interviews with 34 survivors and 12 system stakeholders. On the basis of these data, we identified individual, group, and system factors that contributed to gaps between survivors’ expected and actual survivorship care experiences. By understanding what shapes survivorship care systems and resources, we help illuminate and unravel the complex nature of the issue, supporting clinicians and decision makers to find multi-layered approaches for equitably high-quality survivorship care.

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