Purpose: To explore views of general practitioners (GPs) and occupational physicians (OPs) on the role of GPs in work guidance of cancer patients. Methods: Between 2016 and 2019, two focus groups with GPs (N = 17) and two focus groups with OPs (N = 10) were conducted. Focus group discussions were audiotaped and transcribed verbatim. Transcripts were analysed by data-driven analysis. Results: GPs generally indicated that they inquire about patients’ occupations but do not structurally document these. GPs described offering support and advice to patients regarding their work, while other GPs stated they do not interfere with their patients’ work or return to work (RTW) process. In general, GPs stated that they do not aspire a professional role in the work guidance of patients, due to lack of expertise and not having sufficient knowledge in work regulations and legislation. In contrast, OPs anticipated a proactive role from GPs concerning work guidance in cancer patients, and they expected GPs to refer cancer patients to the OP, when required. Moreover, they emphasised the importance of communication between GPs and OPs about patients’ work-related problems to achieve common goals. Conclusions: GPs can contribute to cancer patients’ RTW process by supporting patients, giving advice and providing referral to other health professionals. Better cooperation between GPs and OPs may improve work guidance in cancer patients. Implications for Cancer Survivors: When cancer patients with work-related issues get appropriate advice and support from GPs and referred in time to OPs, the RTW process and staying at work of cancer patients may be positively affected.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Cancer Survivorship
Early online date2022
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 2022


  • Cancer survivors
  • General practitioner
  • Occupational physician
  • Return to work

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