Needs of Cancer Survivors
The very good news is that attention, lots of it, is being paid to be the needs of cancer survivors. This is a relatively new field of interest because, frankly, there did not used to be so many of us. The general attitude was that many cancer patients died, and those who survived were just lucky and grateful. As so many more people have gone on to live long and healthy lives after cancer, there has been a growing awareness of the many medium and long term effects of treatments. Of course, there are the life-changing psychological issues, but there also may be a range of physical problems that only become apparent sometime later. This is a new and interesting study from the Journal of Clinical Oncology. I give you the beginning and then a link:
Cancer Survivorship and Cancer Rehabilitation: Revitalizing the Link
Catherine M. Alfano, Office of Cancer Survivorship, National Cancer Institute/National Institutes of Health/Department of Health and Human Services, Bethesda, MD
Patricia A. Ganz, School of Medicine, School of Public Health, and Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center, University of California, Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA
Julia H. Rowland, Office of Cancer Survivorship, National Cancer Institute/National Institutes of Health/Department of Health and Human Services, Bethesda, MD
Erin E. Hahn, School of Public Health and Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center, University of California, Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA
Increasing national attention focuses on the specialized needs of disease-free survivors of cancer.1-5 This is a direct reflection of the growing number of survivors of cancer in the US, currently estimated at almost 12 million,6 and the many challenges of delivering optimal health care to these individuals. The health system will be further stressed by the aging of theUSpopulation during the next 25 years and the corresponding increase in long-term survivors. Most cancers are diagnosed in older adults who have preexisting comorbid conditions that are exacerbated by cancer treatment. The convergence of preexisting and new chronic conditions in older survivors of cancer is a major challenge for health care policy and delivery. To meet this challenge, we must develop a model of care delivery to maximize the health and well-being of survivors of cancer, focusing on effective symptom management, prevention of late effects, and health promotion.
It is time to revitalize the link between cancer survivorship and cancer rehabilitation and investigate a new model of comprehensive cancer rehabilitation, involving a multidisciplinary team of providers that aims to optimize the patient's physical, psychologic, vocational, and social functioning given the limits imposed by the chronic or late effects of cancer treatment and other comorbid conditions.