Why is Survivorship Care Important?
The good news for cancer survivorship is that the numbers are growing, with an estimated 17 million survivors living in the United States alone. Unfortunately, cancer treatments are not without consequence and these survivors are dealing with the long-term effects of treatments with little guidance. The Institute of Medicine (IOM) researched the state of care for cancer survivors and found that little guidance is available for survivors and their healthcare providers to overcome the medical and psychosocial problems that may arise post-treatment. The IOM suggests that once a person has completed cancer therapy, he or she should be provided with a summary of the treatments received and a follow up “care plan”. This care plan should summarize the potential late effects, their prevention, symptoms, and treatment, recommendations for cancer screening; psychosocial effects, financial issues, recommendations for a healthy lifestyle, genetic counseling, referrals for follow-up care and a list of support resources. While this plan is extremely important, the resources required to create it have made it hard to incorporate into practice.
What Information Do I Need to Create a Care Plan?
The OncoLife Survivorship Care Plan is a “survivorship care plan” that is individualized based on the answers you provide in a brief questionnaire. In order to develop the most accurate plan of care, you may need to talk to your oncology team to have some details of your cancer therapy available:
- Type of cancer
- If you underwent surgery, what procedures were done?
- If you received chemotherapy, what medications were received?
- If you received radiation therapy, what type of cancer was this done for?
What Should I Do with the Plan?
This care plan is meant for you to review and discuss with your healthcare team (both oncology and primary care). Keep in mind that every case is different and the risks of some side effects vary based on the actual dose of radiation or chemotherapy that were received or the techniques that were used to administer these therapies. It is very important to review your plan of care with the oncology team to further clarify your risk.
Related Resources (click titles for more information):
- Facing Forward: Life After Cancer Treatment
- Facing Forward: Making a Difference in Cancer
- Office of Cancer Survivorship
- Springboard Beyond Cancer
NOTE: Partnering with your oncologist/oncology care team for your continued care is important in rebuilding quality of life after treatment with a survivorship care plan in place.
Survivorship Care Planning Models for Various Sources for General Guidance:
Please visit the following sites to become acquainted with what will help you to navigate issues during treatment, as well as after treatment is completed. This information is helpful to discuss with your oncologist / medical care team. Cancer.Net and the Americal Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) have put together wonderful, helpful guidance that will benefit you after treatment and enhance your survivorship through careful, ongoing connection with your oncology/medical care team: The following links will take you to this important information: https://www.cancer.net/survivorship/what-survivorship
Coping – Follow-Up Medical Care – National Cancer Institute
www.cancer.gov/about-cancer/coping/survivorship/follow-up-careOnce you’re done with cancer treatment, you should receive a follow-up cancer plan from your doctor. … All cancer survivors should have follow-up care