Do You Have a Cancer Survivorship Plan?
A survivorship plan helps organize and keep track of your treatment, the next steps, and other important information may need in future years.
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During active treatment, you were immersed in the details of your drug regimens, appointments, and test results. But as the years go by, the specifics of what you learned may become sketchy.
The ideal survivorship plan has two parts: a summary of your treatment and a follow-up plan based on the best available evidence (which may be better known to your oncologist than to the primary care doctor you'll be seeing years down the road).
The summary of your treatment should include:
- Diagnostic tests and results
- Tumor characteristics
- Specific treatments (including dates, agents used, doses, response, and side effects)
- Support services provided
- How to reach your treatment providers and institutions
- Who will coordinate your continuing care
The follow-up plan should incorporate:
- Your likely course of recovery from treatment toxicities
- Recommended ongoing maintenance and adjuvant therapy
- Your screening schedule and who will provide it
- Possible late and long-term effects of treatment and their symptoms
- Possible signs of recurrence and second tumors
- Issues that come up in relationships, sexual functioning, work, and parenting and the need for psychosocial support
- Information about insurance, employment, and other financial consequences of cancer
- Recommendations for healthy behaviors
- Health information for your relatives (in light of your diagnosis)
- Referrals to specific follow-up providers (rehab, fertility, psychology), support groups, etc.
- A list of cancer-related resources and information