Understanding Posttreatment Patient-Provider Communication and Follow-Up Care Among Self-Identified Rural Cancer Survivors in Illinois

Marquita W. Lewis-Thames, Leslie R. Carnahan, Aimee S. James, Karriem S. Watson, Yamilé Molina*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Purpose: As disparities in rural-urban cancer survivorship rates continue to widen, optimizing patient-provider communication regarding timely follow-up care is a potential mechanism to improving survivorship-related outcomes. The current study examines sociodemographic and health predictors of posttreatment patient-provider communication and follow-up care and associations between written communication and timely follow-up care for cancer survivors who identify as rural. Methods: Data were analyzed from posttreatment cancer survivor respondents of the Illinois Rural Cancer Assessment Study. The current study tested associations between sociodemographic variables and health factors on the quality of patient-provider communication and timely posttreatment follow-up care, defined as visits ≤ 3 months posttreatment, and associations between the receipt of written patient-provider communication on timely posttreatment follow-up care. Results: Among 90 self-identified rural cancer survivors, respondents with annual incomes < $50,000 and ≤ High School diploma were more likely to report a high quality of posttreatment patient-provider communication. Posttreatment written communication was reported by 62% of the respondents and 52% reported timely follow-up visits during the first 3 years of posttreatment care. Patients who reported receiving written patient-provider communication were more likely to have timely posttreatment follow-up care after completing active treatment than patients who had not received written patient-provider communication. Conclusions: Our findings suggest that written patient-provider communication improved timely follow-up care for self-identified rural cancer survivors. This research supports policy and practice that recommend the receipt of written survivorship care plans. Implementation of written survivorship care recommendations has the potential to improve survivorship care for rural cancer survivors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)549-563
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Rural Health
Issue number4
StatePublished - Sep 1 2020


  • cancer survivors
  • disease management
  • health communication
  • rural health
  • survivorship

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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