Author(s): Campbell NC, Ritchie LD, Cassidy J, Little J
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Abstract In an attempt to ensure high quality cancer treatment for all patients in the UK, care is being centralized in specialist centres and units. For patients in outlying areas, however, access problems may adversely affect treatment. In an attempt to assess alternative methods of delivering cancer care, this paper reviews published evidence about programmes that have set out to provide oncology services in remote and rural areas in order to identify evidence of effectiveness and problems. Keyword and textword searches of on-line databases (MEDLINE, EMBASE, HEALTHSTAR and CINAHL) from 1978 to 1997 and manual searches of references were conducted. Fifteen papers reported evaluations of oncology outreach programmes, tele-oncology programmes and rural hospital initiatives. All studies were small and only two were controlled, so evidence was suggestive rather than conclusive. There were some indications that shared outreach care was safe and could make specialist care more accessible to outlying patients. Tele-oncology, by which some consultations are conducted using televideo, may be an acceptable adjunct. Larger and more methodologically robust studies are justified and should be conducted.
This article was published in Br J Cancer
and referenced in Family Medicine & Medical Science Research