Amongst the greatest challenges of doing longitudinal clinical research in India is the persistent loss of patients to follow-up over the course of the study. In conditions like cancer where outcomes are established only after 5 years, the loss to follow-up can be as much as half of all patients treated.
We have used the approach of providing psychosocial support as a method of establishing a rapport with the patient and their families and staying in touch with them over extended periods of time. This approach has led to an astounding degree of success with 99% of women remaining in touch with the counsellors. This has permitted us, for the first time to our knowledge, to obtain outcomes without any loss to follow-up of all patients treated for any cancer.