The Importance of Cancer Survivorship Plans
Every cancer patient looks forward to the day that treatment is finally complete. The end of cancer treatment signals the beginning of a new journey: survivorship. Although you and your doctor may talk about the risk of a cancer recurrence down the road, it is also important to talk about “late effects” of treatment—side effects that may not become apparent until years later—as well as your overall plan for follow-up visits and cancer prevention. There might also be concerns about long-term emotional issues, physical limitations or cognitive changes such as memory loss. Cancer survivors deserve informed, quality health care. However, some primary care physicians and other health care providers who do not specialize in cancer care may not understand all that is needed post treatment. At Mission Hope, we do.
Mission Hope Cancer Center is pleased to offer our new Survivorship and Supportive Care Program to provide answers, relief, expertise and support. Cheryl Decker, MD, facep , serves as the Medical Director and works with patients to manage persistent symptoms and actively monitor risk factors.
More than 15.5 million Americans have a history of cancer, and nearly 20 percent of cancer survivors alive today were diagnosed more than 20 years ago. While most of them enjoy a disease-free life, some people experience long term side effects that impair their physical and emotional recovery. That is why it is important that, when treatment ends, each patient receive a cancer survivorship care plan, which summarizes his/her treatment history and provides a recommendation for future care, such as when and by whom follow up tests will be performed. At present, this is not a standard part of care and, as a result, there is much confusion. For now, programs like ours at Mission Hope are filling the gap.
Cancer patients in all stages of their cancer journey can access the program to benefit from the many services we offer. This includes those who have not yet started cancer treatment as well as patients currently undergoing treatment. Even long after completion of cancer therapy, people value our Survivorship and Supportive Care Program.
Wondering how to get started? A common way is a referral from your primary care physician, oncologist or surgeon. In addition, you are welcome to call us directly. We are happy to answer questions from patients and/or family members. For more information or to get started, please call the Mission Hope Cancer Center Survivorship and Supportive Care Program at 805.346.3456.