Role of the PCP during Cancer
It is often difficult to decide whom to call: your oncologist or your PCP. During active treatment, most oncologists prefer to hear from you about anything that is happening. They may sometimes suggest that a particular complaint would be better suited for your PCP, but they generally want the chance to evaluate a symptom or issue and decide whether it is related to cancer or cancer treatment. Once chemotherapy and radiation are done, it can be even more confusing whom to call. Some people always want to call the PCP, hoping to minimize their own anxiety that the problem might be cancer. Others always want to call the oncologist, hoping for quick reassurance that it is not a cancer-related problem. It would be smart to have a conversation with your own doctors about your own preferences.
This is an article from Support Care Cancer about these two roles. I give you the introduction and a link:
Role of the general practitioner during the active breast cancer treatment phase: an analysis of health care use
PURPOSE: Little is known about the actual involvement of the general practitioner (GP) during the active breast cancer treatment phase. Therefore, this study explored (disease-specific) primary health care use among women undergoing active treatment for breast cancer compared with women without breast cancer. METHODS: A total of 185 women with a first diagnosis of early-stage breast cancer between 1998 and 2007 were identified in the primary care database of the Registration Network Groningen and matched with a reference population of 548 women without breast cancer on birth year and GP. RESULTS: Since diagnosis, patients with breast cancer had twice as many face-to-face contacts compared with women from the reference population (median 6.0 vs 3.0/year, Mann-Whitney (M-W) test p < 0.001). The median number of drug prescriptions and referrals was also significantly higher among patients than among the reference population (11.0 vs 7.0/year, M-W test p < 0.001 and 1.0 vs 0.0/year, M-W test p < 0.001). More patients than women from the reference population had face-to-face contacts or were prescribed drugs for reasons related to breast cancer and its treatment, including gastrointestinal problems, psychological reasons and endocrine therapy. CONCLUSIONS: During the active breast cancer treatment phase, GPs are involved in the management of treatment-related side effects and psychological symptoms, as well as in the administration of endocrine therapy. Based on the findings of this study, interventions across the primary/secondary interface can be planned to improve quality of life and other outcomes in patients undergoing breast cancer treatment.