CCFP Key Topic "Cancer"
Written & Researched By: Sarah Donnelly IM PGY-1 University of Alberta
In all patients, be opportunistic in giving cancer prevention advice even when it is not the primary reason for the encounter.
In all patients, provide the indicated evidence-based screening (according to age group, risk factors, etc.) to detect cancer at an early stage (e.g., with Pap tests, mammography, colonoscopy, digital rectal examinations, prostate-specific antigen testing).
In patients diagnosed with cancer, offer ongoing follow-up and support and remain involved in the treatment plan, in collaboration with the specialist cancer treatment system. (Don’t lose track of your patient during cancer care.)
In a patient diagnosed with cancer, actively inquire, with compassion and empathy, about the personal and social consequences of the illness (e.g., family issues, loss of job), and the patient’s ability to cope with these consequences.
In a patient treated for cancer, actively inquire about side effects or expected complications of treatment (e.g., diarrhea, feet paresthesias), as the patient may not volunteer this information.
In patients with a distant history of cancer who present with new symptoms include recurrence or metastatic disease in the differential diagnosis.
In a patient diagnosed with cancer, be realistic and honest when discussing prognosis. (Say when you don’t know.)
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