Recommendations on Follow-up Care for Survivors
The good news is that there are 10 million cancer survivors
in the U.S. today. Advances in treatment and early detection have raised the
cancer survivor rates considerably. The other news is that once treatment is
over, these survivors may not be receiving the kind of life-long, individualized
follow-up care they need.
The Institute of Medicine recently issued a report stating
that people who have had cancer need long-term follow-up that addresses the
physical, psychosocial and psychological consequences of having had cancer.
Cancer survivors are at risk of recurrence, so follow-up
screening is extremely important. But maybe as important is the fear that comes
along with being a survivor. And there are health effects from cancer and its
treatment, such as mobility problems, nerve damage, memory problems,
discrimination from employers and financial problems due to costly treatment.
If you are a cancer survivor, now more than ever is the
time to take an active role in your care. Be sure to get the following
information from your oncologist, primary care doctor, social worker or other
member of your care team:
- Guidelines for detecting a recurrence of the cancer or
- Long-term consequences of your treatment
- Local services that provide information about
psychosocial care and legal protection
The Institute of Medicine