Targeting a Plan to Overcome the Challenges of Cancer Survivorship Care

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Editor’s Note: The following is a recap of a recent article published in Cancer Therapy Advisor. All rights reserved. It reports on a session dedicated to survivorship care at the May 2015 annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO).

By Beth Sanders Moore

As of 2012 in the United States there were 14 million cancer survivors, a number that is expected to grow to 18 million by 2022. The understanding that survivorship is a necessary component of cancer care is not a new concept; yet, it is a phase of cancer care that is often neglected.

At last week’s 2015 American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) annual meeting, Ann H. Partridge MD, MPH, discussed the challenges that oncologists face in standardizing survivorship guidelines for their adult patients.

She summarized her adaptation of the Institute of Medicine’s definition of survivorship care as:

  1. surveillance, screening, and preventing cancer recurrence or development of new cancers (which includes fostering adherence to clinical guidelines and risk-reducing treatments);
  2. identifying and managing late and long-term medical, psychological, and social effects;
  3. encouraging patients to demonstrate healthy behaviors;
  4. coordinating care throughout the health care spectrum to ensure patients are sufficiently provided for.

Partridge noted that oncologists are aware that planning is essential to delivering sufficient survivorship care to their patients. Planning survivorship care requires a variety of efforts including an understanding of the issues, the creation of evidence and consensus within the community, the development of systems and tools that aid in the adherence to standards, resources, and, perhaps most difficult to establish, a willingness to change both at a personal and institutional level.

Oncologists face three primary challenges in creating standards of care for cancer survivors:

  1. oncology care providers still have substantial work to do in curing the diseases they treat and are often focused on that treatment;
  2. cancer is a complex disease that has a wide range of therapeutic interventions and associated risks;
  3. There is a significant void in research, particularly prospective studies and randomized controlled trials, on the topic of survivorship.

“Even when there are data, and even when evidence exists, many do not follow those data,” Dr. Partridge said.

The key factor in streamlining established guidelines into practice is to acknowledge the fact that not all patients need the same services. Data shows there is disparity among patients when it came to what they felt they needed and when within their treatment they wanted those services.

“We don’t want to be pushing services or squandering resources on patients where it’s not necessary.”

Survivorship care, in many ways, is an extension of quality care, Dr. Partridge explained. Quality care focuses on ensuring that patients are receiving the right amount a care. Survivorship care shares the same goal. It’s important to target survivorship care so that the appropriate level of support is given to each patient, ideally giving each patient a baseline level of service and offering a variety of options that go into higher levels of supportive care.

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Cancer Survivorship Plans: The Next Phase of Cancer Care is Here and Now

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Editor’s Note: The following is a recap of a recent article published in Texas Medicine, the monthly publication of the Texas Medical Association (TMA). All rights reserved. TMA is the largest state medical society in the nation, representing more than 48,000 physician and medical student members. It is located in Austin and has 110 component county medical societies around the state.

By Beth Sanders Moore

Treatment doesn’t stop when a patient is free of cancer.

“Overwhelmingly, more patients are surviving their cancer,” says Austin oncologist Debra Ann Patt, MD.

The success of cancer treatments brings new issues to light, including how physicians — both oncologists, or cancer doctors, and primary care physicians — can support patients once treatment is over.

That’s where “survivorship plans” come in.

Survivorship plans include a summary of the patient’s diagnosis and treatments, as well as a course of action for screenings, office visits, and lifestyle recommendations. The goal is to improve the quality of care for cancer survivors and empower them to care for themselves, live better lives, and reduce the risk of recurrence.

“These plans, though not as common as they should be, are an important part of any survivor’s aftercare,” said Dr. Patt.

Cancer treatment is tremendously complex, and it can involve a vast array of surgeries, therapies, and prescriptions.

“At some point, patients kind of feel like deer in headlights,” Dr. Patt said. “When survivors come out of the whirlwind of treatment, it is imperative that cancer specialists and primary care physicians coordinate follow-up care and talk to patients about their survivorship care plan,” she said.

The consequences of cancer and its treatment can exact a toll on survivors. Impaired organ function, infertility, cosmetic changes, depression, anxiety, and limitations in mobility, communication, and the ability to think clearly are among the problems faced by some survivors. Survivorship plans can help patients manage these after-effects or avoid them completely, according to a 2005 report from the Institute of Medicine.

Dr. Patt said survivorship care plans are part of recognizing the whole spectrum of cancer care and assessment.

“It’s really a paradigm shift in how we think about cancer care,” she said.

For more on survivorship plans, check out the May issue of Texas Medicine.

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CancerForward Speakers Available for 2015 National Cancer Survivors Day Events

By Team CancerForward on April 1, 2015 10:00 am | Leave a comment
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On Sunday, June 7, 2015, millions around the globe will celebrate National Cancer Survivors Day® (NCSD). It’s the day each year that we honor the strength and courage of those who are living with a history of cancer. It’s also a time to acknowledge the contributions of caregivers, families and friends of cancer survivors, as well as those professionally engaged in the fight against cancer.

CancerForward is pleased to provide a speaker at your 2015 National Cancer Survivors Day® event. Whether humorous, inspirational, or informative, a guest speaker can be the highlight of your event.
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When A Woman Afflicted With Cancer and A Woman Afflicted With Heart Disease Are One

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by Rebecca Trahan

“You have cancer.”

“You’re having a heart attack.”

Hearing either of these statements is unimaginable to most.

What could be worse? Hearing both statements could be far more traumatic. And more troubling still can be hearing that the treatment you received to arrest your cancer has caused your heart to fail.

Talk about a double dose of dread: surviving cancer only to be diagnosed with heart disease. Dreadful, and yet it happens more often than we realize.
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Communicating with Your Doctor After Treatment

CancerForward Communicating with Your Doctor After TreatmentWith almost 15 million cancer survivors now living in the United States and with that number growing, there is concern about how our healthcare system will provide proper after-treatment medical care for a burgeoning population of survivors. “We do not foresee an expansion of the number of health professionals specifically devoted to caring for cancer patients. That means more survivors will receive their long-term follow-up care from health professionals other than those who provided their cancer treatment.“ says Len Lichtenfeld, MD, deputy chief medical officer of the American Cancer Society.
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The First Mobile Clinic to Serve Cancer Survivors

UT Southwestern Medical Center.by Owen Carson

CancerForward was on hand earlier this year at the debut of a custom-built $1 million big rig that’s a first-of-its-kind mobile cancer survivor clinic. Mid-February, UT Southwestern Medical Center’s Moncrief Cancer Institute and Harold C. Simmons Comprehensive Cancer Center unveiled an 18-wheeler equipped with a 3-D digital mammography suite and two exam rooms with secure telemedicine links to give survivors free access to essential follow-up care.
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CancerForward and American Bar Association Team to Support Practical Needs of Survivors

CancerForward ABA Health Law SectionWith more than 1.5 million new cases of cancer diagnosed each year in the U.S., the need for lawyers who can effectively advocate for cancer survivors is ever growing, according to experts who routinely participate in American Bar Association Health Law Section workshops.

“Cancer rights law is an interesting discipline in that it incorporates so many areas of the law that can arise as issues for someone whose just been diagnosed with cancer,” said Joanna Fawzy Morales, cancer rights attorney, CEO of Triage Cancer, and a National Advisory Board Member of CancerForward.
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Beth Sanders Moore: New Study on Meditation A Boon For Breast Cancer Survivors

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We at CancerForward and our social media communities are very excited about a study published this week that brings ground-breaking news for breast cancer survivors. For the first time, researchers have shown that practicing mindfulness meditation has a positive physical impact at the cellular level in breast cancer survivors. For many years, oncologists have known that alternative or integrative therapies likes meditation bolster the emotional well-being of cancer survivors.

A team from Alberta Health Services’ Tom Baker Cancer Centre and the University of Calgary Department of Oncology has demonstrated that telomeres, the protein complexes at the end of chromosomes, maintain their length in breast cancer survivors who meditate. Longer telomeres are believed to protect against disease, while shortened telomeres are associated with cell aging and several disease states.
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Surviving Cancer: 2014 Forward Mover
Margo Hilliard Alford In Her Own Words

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Margo Hilliard Alford In Her Own Words

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Surviving Cancer: 2014 Forward Mover
Rev. Preston J Allen In His Own Words

Continue reading Surviving Cancer: 2014 Forward Mover
Rev. Preston J Allen In His Own Words

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