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SEER Training Modules

Follow-up Letters

Follow-up letters should be developed for each type of contact. These letters represent the facility or population-based registry and must be approved by the appropriate governing board, hospital committees, the hospital administration, or the cancer committee. All letters should identify the hospital and/or central registry, either by using stationery or printing the information in the letter. A contact telephone number should be included.

Letter content depends on the type of contact. Letters to nonmedical contacts must be written in a language that is easily understood. Institution policy determines whether the word cancer is mentioned in the letter. Exercise caution in using this word, especially if in-situ or benign cases are involved. A separate letter must be designed for these contacts that does not use the word cancer. Letters to physicians or other health care contacts can include technical or disease-specific information.

It is important to use direct phrasing in an understandable language in order to obtain a response. Contacts must understand what information is being requested. A clear message facilitates a quicker response than ambiguous terminology or wording. The following are three examples of follow-up letters:

  1. Sample Follow-up Letter to Physicians
  2. Sample Follow-up Letter That Can Be Sent to a Nursing Home or Convalescent Hospital
  3. Sample Follow-up Letter to the Patient