Study designs of evaluations included in the review
Case studies and studies that reported health care professionals' views or experiences, medical procedures or technology advancements were excluded from the review.
Specific interventions included in the review
Studies of patients attending a routine follow-up service after treatment for primary breast cancer were eligible for inclusion. Follow-up differed in intensity (minimal versus intensive), frequency, location (primary versus secondary), discharge from routine follow-up, nurse-practitioner follow-up and patient- initiated follow-up. Minimal follow-up was defined as including history taking, physical examination and mammography. Intensive follow-up was defined as including extensive diagnostic investigations such as chest X-ray, clinical chemistry, haematology and bone scans. Most of the included studies were conducted in the UK or the USA; the remainder were conducted in other European countries, Canada or Japan.
Participants included in the review
Studies of patients who had received treatment for primary breast cancer were included in the review.
Outcomes assessed in the review
Studies reporting data on any outcome were eligible for inclusion. The included studies assessed a wide range of outcomes: survival, recurrence, number of breast lesions missed, affect (including depression and anxiety), quality of life, satisfaction, other morbidity, knowledge, involvement in decision-making, attitude, perceptions and preferences, service impact, designation of practitioner, and economic assessment.
How were decisions on the relevance of primary studies made?
One reviewer selected papers for inclusion in the review. A second reviewer checked 10% of the decisions, and decisions were discussed between the reviewers.