Thanks to advances in early detection and better treatment regimens, there are an estimated 12 million cancer survivors living in the US today. Amazing, right! But what happens after active treatment has been completed? Many cancer survivors can tell you that recovery is not always the end of their cancer experience. Difficulties accessing health care & obtaining insurance, psychological & emotional effects, secondary cancer, treatment-related organ dysfunction and infertility are just some of the unique challenges facing cancer survivors. Where can cancer survivors go to help for their specific needs?
Fortunately more and more cancer treatment centers now offer “survivorship programs” that are designed to help guide people as they transition from cancer patient to cancer survivor. These programs can offer ongoing medical care by doctors; counselors to help work through questions, fears & concern; support group meetings with other survivors; resources and assistance to help you to thrive in life AC (After Cancer).
There are also some great FREE resources & tools that are available to guide you after completing cancer treatment…
If you are an adult survivor of pediatric cancer, take a look at The Survivor’s Map is an online resource created by The GW Cancer Institute to connect adult survivors of pediatric cancer to key information about healthy living, funding education (yes there are college scholarships just for cancer survivors) as well as help finding support, insurance, employment, etc.
The Children’s Oncology Group website, Cure Search, is also a wonderful resource for survivors of childhood cancers.
Beyond The Cure is another great site that provides detailed information about the late effects of a cancer diagnosis and treatment involving all aspects of survivors’ lives. To help analyze late effects specific to your diagnosis and treatment, check out their Late Effects Assessment Tool. The more you know about the possible long-term effects, the better prepared you will be to meet any challenges the future may bring.
If you are a survivor of an adult cancer, check out the LiveStrong Care Plan, (powered by Penn Medicine’s OncoLink). This plan is literally a “survivorship care plan” that is individualized based on the answers you provide in a brief questionnaire. In order to get the most accurate plan of care, you will need to provide specific details about your cancer therapy. Once created, you should discuss the plan with both your oncologist and your primary care physician. On this site, you can also search for a survivorship clinic near you.
If you know of other survivorship programs, please post them below. Knowledge is power. Share the power!
Read more about the wide variety of available cancer support services.