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Survivorship Series: The Work of Cancer Survivorship

listsBy Anne Katz, PhD, RN 

This Monthly Survivorship Series, written by CKN Survivorship Editor, Anne Katz, is provided by CKN with permission from ONS.  We hope this series will become a useful resource that will help to facilitate dialogue between cancer patients, their loved ones and their physicians with a view towards improving the quality of life for cancer survivors.  

As I read mul­ti­ple arti­cles in the process of writ­ing my book on sur­vivor­ship, I was con­stantly reminded that being a can­cer sur­vivor is WORK, lots and lots of work.  I see my patients doing this work every day. How do they man­age this?

From cop­ing with fatigue to remem­ber­ing to have repeated blood tests and scans, there is a lot to do if you are a can­cer sur­vivor. There are short term effects from treat­ment that have to be dealt with and then there are the late effects too. There is exer­cise to mit­i­gate fatigue and pre­vent com­pli­ca­tions.  And dietary strate­gies to pro­vide anti-​​oxidants.  How do can­cer sur­vivors keep all of this straight?

I think that many can­cer sur­vivors may not be get­ting any or all of this infor­ma­tion. That’s con­cern­ing. I know that where I work, we are just in the begin­ning stages of implementing a Sur­vivor­ship Care Plan for rec­tal can­cer patients — what about all the other dis­ease sites?

I also know that many others are way ahead of us; some can­cer cen­ters have highly sophis­ti­cated pro­grams of can­cer sur­vivor­ship includ­ing per­son­al­ized care plan­ning, well­ness projects, nurse spe­cial­ists etc.

I envy those of you who have been on this track for a while — why don’t you write in and tell us about what you do?

Read Anne’s last post here.



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