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Survivorship

Survivorship

Who is a Survivor?
A cancer survivor is anyone who has a diagnosis of cancer. Individuals are considered survivors from the time of diagnosis, throughout his/her life- including all the physical, mental, emotional, financial impacts that the diagnosis and treatment has on that individual. Needs of a cancer survivor are complex and widely variable. This is a period of HOPE but also uncertainty.

Most people agree that after having cancer, their life changes in many ways- sometimes for the better and sometimes for worse. For instance, survivors have been known to appreciate life and relationships more appreciate life more. On the other hand, they can be more anxious about their health and they have trouble coping with life after treatments end.

What is Survivorship?
With a cancer diagnosis, treatment and life after treatment, survivors may have a difficult time navigating through and dealing with the problems that may arise.

Survivorship covers the physical, psychosocial, and economic issues of cancer, beyond the diagnosis and treatment phases. This can include issues related to the ability to get health care and follow-up treatment, late effects of treatment, second cancers, and quality of life.

Your Oncology Team follows these standards:
  1. We will work with you to prevent new cancers and from original cancer returning.
  2. We will monitor you for any signs of original cancer returning as well as any other cancers.
  3. We will watch for signs and symptoms of late effects of cancer treatments and the need for help with finances, work and other health concerns.
  4. We will strive to intervene and treat the consequences of cancer and treatment.
  5. We will work with your Primary Doctor to coordinate care for your current and future oncology needs.
  6. The most import piece of the standards is providing you with the appropriate Survivorship Care Plan. This includes your cancer diagnosis, a summary of treatment that you have received and a list of possible needs and concerns going forward along with recommendations for healthy behavior. We will also provide information on follow up and monitoring plans based on NCCN guidelines. Also provided in the plan is a list of the Oncology Team that participated in your care along with contact information.

Survivorship can be a challenge in all aspects of your life. Understand that the entire family changes from the cancer experience in ways they may not be aware of. If you do choose to talk about your journey, set limits on what you share. Your team can help to work through these challenges and to get you the support needed. The most important factor in any challenge is maintaining open, clear communication.

Tips:
  • Sustain a health body weight. Diet focused in fruits and vegetables, whole grains, lean meats, varied sources of protein, less processed foods, high fat content, refined sugars.
  • Stop smoking. 12-15% of cancer survivors use cigarettes and other sources of tobacco.
  • Moderate alcohol consumption.
  • Consider the use of complimentary therapies and integrative health along with medical treatments to promote increased quality of life, stress reduction and strategies to cope with changes.

Patient Resources:
ASCO - www.cancer.net
Survivorship - www.journeyforward.org/planning-tools/my-care-plan
American Cancer Society - www.cancer.org
American Cancer Society Survivorship - https://www.cancer.org/health-care-professionals/national-cancer-survivorship-resource-center.html
Livestrong - www.livestrong.com
NCCN - www.nccn.org/patients/