Digital Public Defence: Heidi Lidal Fidjeland

MD Heidi Lidal Fidjeland at Institute of Health and Society will be defending the thesis Follow-up of cancer patients in general practice for the degree of PhD (Philosophiae Doctor).

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Photo: Martin Fidjeland. 

The public defence will be held as a video conference over Zoom.

The defence will follow regular procedure as far as possible, hence it will be open to the public and the audience can ask ex auditorio questions when invited to do so.

Click here to participate in the public defence

Download Zoom here

Due to copyright reasons, an electronic copy of the thesis must be ordered from the faculty. In order for the faculty to have time to process the order, it must be received by the faculty no later than 2 days prior to the public defence. Orders received later than 2 days before the defence will not be processed. Inquiries regarding the thesis after the public defence must be addressed to the candidate.

Digital Trial Lecture – time and place

See Digital Trial Lecture.

Adjudication committee

  • First opponent: Professor Peter Vedsted, Department of Public Health, Aarhus University
  • Second opponent: Associate Professor Maj-Lill Johansen, UiT The Arctic University of Norway
  • Third member and chair of the evaluation committee: Professor II Stein Kaasa, University of Oslo

Chair of the Defence

Associate Professor Øyvind Næss, University of Oslo

Principal Supervisor

Professor Mette Brekke, University of Oslo


Follow-up of cancer patients after primary treatment has traditionally been hospital-based. The value of such a follow-up model is not evidence-based. Due to an increasing number of cancer survivors and a consequent pressure on the outpatient clinics, it has been suggested that they could be followed up by general practitioners (GPs).

The aim of the thesis was to gain knowledge about the current and potential future role of Norwegian GPs in cancer follow-up care. We explored both GPs’ and gynecological cancer patients’ experiences with and attitudes towards follow-up care, by conducting cross-sectional questionnaire studies. To explore if cancer patients consult their GP more often than other patients, and for what purposes, we performed a one-year data extraction study from GPs’ electronic medical records (EMR).

The GPs reported broad experience in providing cancer follow-up care and felt confident in their own skills. However, they were reluctant to assume responsibility for additional cancer patients and feared it would increase their workload. Unclear guidelines and unclear responsibilities were the biggest challenges in the collaboration with specialists.

The patients preferred to be followed up by a gynecologist and viewed GPs as less competent for this purpose. However, patients who had not yet started follow-up were more willing to be followed up by a GP. 

Data from GPs’ EMR showed that cancer patients consulted their GP more often than patients in general, for cancer-related reasons as well as for various comorbidities.

GPs play a substantial role in cancer follow-up care. If GPs are to assume greater responsibility for future follow-up, this must be formalized, the responsibilities clarified and the collaboration strengthened so that the GPs’ workload does not become significantly greater. Patients must be informed early about the forthcoming follow-up and its benefits and limitations so that they can be confident in the evidence base of the guidelines.

Additional information

Contact the research support staff.

Published May 10, 2021 11:05 AM - Last modified June 1, 2021 12:55 PM