Survivorship Champions

Clinicians and Researchers Improving Care for Cancer Survivors

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Survivorship Champions

What is Survivorship Champions?

  • NCCS’ program for clinicians and researchers who are interested in improving care for cancer survivors.
  • A community, with a multi-directional information exchange about best practices, lessons learned, and effective models of survivorship care.

The Need

Lost in TransitionAs treatments for cancer improve, more people are living with a history of cancer, and the long-term effects of cancer treatment. With more than 18.1 million cancer survivors in the U.S., the current oncology workforce is not sufficient to handle the acute needs of cancer patients who are in treatment, or who have completed treatment. Thus, it is imperative that some of the responsibility for providing survivorship care shifts from oncologists to primary care physicians.  Even survivors who require continued follow-up by their oncology team need primary care physicians who understand their cancer experience and their health needs in post-treatment survivorship.

The Institute of Medicine of the National Academies issued a report in 2005, “From Cancer Patient to Cancer Survivor: Lost in Transition,” that included several recommendations for improving the quality of care for survivors as they transition from active treatment to long-term survivorship. In response, NCCS and other patient and provider organizations worked to implement key recommendations of the report. Despite these efforts, cancer survivors in 2021 too often describe their movement from active treatment as a time of being “lost in transition,” exactly the experience and emotion captured by the Institute of Medicine in 2005.

Join Survivorship Champions

Survivorship Champions is for all clinicians and researchers, both oncology and primary care, who are interested in improving survivorship care and primary care’s role in caring for cancer survivors.

It’s free to join NCCS Survivorship Champions, and as a member you’ll receive information and resources from NCCS, invitations to webinars, and access to training materials about improving care for cancer survivors.
Learn more and sign up to join Survivorship Champions.


Shelley Fuld Nasso, MPP


NCCS has an incredible network of advocates, cancer survivors and caregivers, who are passionate about sharing their experiences and advocating for better, more holistic care for cancer survivors. Please enjoy these videos, in which long-term survivors describe their post-treatment needs and challenges in receiving survivorship care.

Ana María López, MD, MPH

Sidney Kimmel Medical College

As a medical oncologist, I see my job as taking care of the whole person with cancer, from diagnosis through post-treatment survivorship. In my career, I have seen the gaps in care that cancer patients face, during treatment and as they transition to post-treatment care. As Past President of the American College of Physicians, I know the challenges that primary care physicians face in practice and the desire of primary care physicians to learn more about the needs of cancer survivors. Through Survivorship Champions, we hope to provide support, resources, best practices, and community to clinicians and researchers who are interested in improving survivorship care.

Take Our Concerns Seriously

People talk about a “new normal” after cancer, but many cancer survivors say that there is no such thing as a new normal. After a cancer diagnosis, their lives have been changed forever. Fear of recurrence is a significant and often debilitating concern for many cancer survivors. And the effects of cancer treatment are long-lasting. Cancer survivors tell us that they need their care team to take their concerns seriously.

Understand the Collateral Damage of Cancer Treatment

Cancer treatment has long-lasting effects on cancer survivors’ physical health, mental health, and quality of life. Some use the term “collateral damage” to describe the effects of cancer treatment. Some treatments cause infertility, heart damage, neuropathy, and other significant health effects. Cancer survivors tell us that they are not always prepared for the long-term effects, and they wish their primary care team better understood the long-term effects of cancer treatment.

Communication Is Critical

Cancer patients and survivors see multiple different doctors as part of their ongoing medical care, and often the task of coordinating among different clinicians falls on the patient. Many cancer survivors become strong advocates for themselves and share information among their providers, but it can be a huge burden. Communication between the oncology team and primary care physician is critical to ensuring continuity and coordination of care.

Mental Health Is a Top Concern

A cancer diagnosis takes a huge toll on mental health. Cancer turns one’s world upside down and forces survivors to face their mortality. In NCCS’ 2020 State of Cancer Survivorship Survey, fatigue and mental health issues are among the most common side effects reported by cancer patients and survivors, yet few reported that their health care teams were very helpful in addressing these concerns during treatment, and most reported their doctors did not bring up mental health during post-treatment care.

Cancer Survivors are Unique Patients

Cancer survivors are unique patients. They have been through a life-changing experience and cancer treatment not only impacts their health, but also their finances, their family, their careers and their mental health. Cancer survivors often take on the responsibility of managing their treatments and coordinating among multiple providers. As a result, they often know an incredible amount of information about their own health and the health care system. Meeting cancer patients where they are, and listening to their concerns, is critical.

NCCS’s Cancer Survivorship Checklist: A Guide for Clinicians

The Cancer Survivorship Checklist: A Guide for Clinicians provides health care professionals with a step-by-step process to implement survivorship care with their patients.  The guide highlights the need for a survivorship care plan and treatment summary, and the coordination of health care during active treatment and post-treatment.

This tool helps ensure that patients are receiving the right care at the right time, the care is coordinated, and resources are used effectively. Cancer survivors should be provided with information to guide them through the different stages of treatment and resources for psychosocial support, rehabilitation, and wellness as part of cancer risk reduction. The guide concludes with having a conversation about when to transition care from oncology team to primary care providers and having the survivorship care plan to support the transition.

Cancer Survivorship Checklist: A Guide for Clinicians

Survivorship Champions Webinars

Survivorship Champions Webinar – Compassion in Oncology: A Powerful Antidote to a Patient’s Negative Emotions and a Confidence Builder

Webinar Banner: NCCS Survivorship Champions Webinar: Compassion in Oncology: A Powerful Antidote to a Patient's Negative Emotions and a Confidence BuilderMarch 14, 2024

NCCS presents a webinar featuring Dr. Michael Crain and Claudio Pannunzio from The Patient is U. Their presentation explores the concept of “Empathy + Action = Compassion” and shares the benefits of compassionate care.

Compassionate care engenders three key meaningful results:

  • Improving patient outcomes and satisfaction.
  • Decreasing health care costs.
  • Reducing workplace burnout.

Cancer patients who educate themselves about their condition, medical intervention options, and potential outcomes are able to ask informed questions and make better decisions. Open communication and mutual respect between patient and caregiver foster a compassionate health care relationship. Care is at the heart of compassionate health care. It embodies the emotional connection, personalized attention, and holistic approach that are essential for creating a healing and supportive health care experience for patients.

Survivorship Champions Webinar – Making the Mouth-Body Connection in Cancer Care

Survivorship Champions Webinar flyer: Making the Mouth-Body Connection in Cancer CareJanuary 31, 2024

NCCS presents a webinar about oral care — an aspect of cancer treatment that is often overlooked. Oral side effects and untreated dental diseases can cause added pain, financial hardships, psychological distress, and a diminished quality of life for those being treated for cancer. Oral effects can also lead to complications or delays of therapies, which can compromise treatment outcomes. Oral changes may have a continued negative impact post-treatment.

In this webinar, Jill Meyer-Lippert, RDH, a longtime dental hygienist and founder of Side Effect Support, discusses the current evidence of oral-systemic links with various types of cancer and success stories of hospital-based oral health programs.

This presentation reviews potential oral side effects associated with various cancer treatments, as well as ways to prevent, delay, or reduce these complications by focusing on prevention and patient education. A focus on oral hygiene modifications and product recommendations will help us to empower our patients to make surprisingly simple changes to reduce their risks. We will discuss ways for the medical and dental teams to work together to provide optimal patient care.

After this course, participants will be able to:

  • Identify oral-systemic links with various types of cancer.
  • Describe oral side effects of cancer treatments and how they may affect quality of life and mortality.
  • Discuss preventive strategies to avoid and manage short-term and long-term oral side effects.
  • Develop strategies for the medical team and dental team to work together to improve patient care.

Survivorship Champions Webinar – Survivorship at Atrium Health Wake Forest Baptist Comprehensive Cancer Center: Creating a Practical Workflow

Survivorship Champions Webinar Survivorship at Atrium Health Wake Forest Baptist Comprehensive Cancer Center: Creating a Practical WorkflowMay 4, 2023

The National Coalition for Cancer Survivorship (NCCS) hosted a Survivorship Champions webinar about survivorship care implementation, “Survivorship at Atrium Health Wake Forest Baptist Comprehensive Cancer Center: Creating a Practical Workflow.” In this webinar, Dr. Stacy Wentworth and Jill Hyson, MSN, NP-C discuss survivorship care as a critical component of a patient’s cancer journey.

The presenters review the NCCN guidelines and the different models of survivorship care, including medical monitoring versus survivorship care. They also provide an overview of the Survivorship Program at Atrium Wake Forest Baptist Health Comprehensive Cancer Center. Jill Hyson, NP presents a case study on the Lung Cancer Survivorship Pathways and discusses the patient and provider workflow, best practices for managing moderate and severe distress, and referrals and orders.

This webinar is designed for health care and oncology professionals seeking to improve their knowledge and skills in survivorship care. Watch below and learn practical strategies for providing quality survivorship care to your patients.

Dr. Stacy Wentworth is Assistant Professor of Radiation Oncology at Wake Forest University School of Medicine and medical director of Cancer Survivorship at Atrium Health Wake Forest Baptist Comprehensive Cancer Center. Her research has been selected for presentation at national conferences and she has numerous publications in peer-reviewed journals. She also is a regular contributor to Psychology Today where she addresses common concerns of cancer survivors.

Jill Hyson, MSN, NP-C is a master’s prepared Adult-Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner with 7 years’ experience as an advanced practice provider. She has 25 years of nursing oncology experience across multi-specialty areas. For the past 5 years, my primary focus has been in lung cancer including survivorship. She is the manager of the survivorship clinic, and she is a part of the oncology support services team which includes dietitians, social workers, and patient navigators.

Survivorship Champions Webinar – Strategies for Success: Implementing the ASCO Exercise, Nutrition, and Weight Management Guidelines with Your Patients and Practice

March 1, 2023

The National Coalition for Cancer Survivorship (NCCS) hosted a Survivorship Champions webinar discussing the American Society for Clinical Oncology’s (ASCO) Guidelines for Exercise, Nutrition, and Weight Management and how to best implement them in a clinical setting.

Sami Mansfield, founder of Cancer Wellness for Life, and Wendy Demark-Wahnefried, PhD, RD, a professor of nutrition sciences at the University of Alabama at Birmingham lead the discussion, presenting strategies for health care professionals to improve wellness for patients with a history of cancer. Their presentation reviews the ASCO Guidelines for Exercise, Nutrition & Weight Management as well as the key components of wellness.

Ms. Mansfield and Dr. Demark-Wahnefried also discuss:

  • Strategies for communicating with your patients.
  • Implementing guidelines into clinical care, including case studies & quality improvement project ideas.
  • Making a toolkit for your program.

Exercise Is Medicine in Oncology: Implementation Based on Solid Evidence

NCCS hosted a webinar featuring Kathryn Schmitz, PhD, MPH, a leading researcher in exercise oncology at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. Dr. Schmitz’s research focuses on people living with and beyond cancer and investigates the role exercise in improving physiologic and psychosocial outcomes including symptoms, treatment tolerance, and other chronic diseases. Dr. Schmitz is also the author of Moving Through Cancer, an exercise and strength-training program for cancer survivors.

In this webinar, Dr. Schmitz presents the evidence base for exercise during and after cancer treatment, reviews the current published exercise guidelines from ACS, SCSM, and ASCO, and discusses “what good looks like” in the practice of exercise oncology.

“Most oncology professionals know exercise would be good for their patients,” says Dr. Schmitz. “Most do not prescribe it, perhaps because they do not know HOW. This talk will demonstrate HOW the practice of exercise oncology takes place across dozens of locations in the United States.”

Watch the full video below or watch on YouTube.

Webinar Slides and Related Resources

This webinar is a part of NCCS’s Survivorship Champions program for clinicians and researchers who are interested in improving cancer survivorship care. Learn more at

About Kathryn Schmitz, PhD, MPH

Beyond the Checkbox: Delivering Meaningful Survivorship Care in a Community Setting

Watch the full video below or watch on YouTube.

Webinar Slides, Links Discussed, and Other Resources

About Dr. Crystal Labbato

Rural Survivorship Care Webinar

Nurse-led care model survivorship webinar flyerPam DeGuzman, PhD, RN, joined NCCS to discuss the development and evaluation of Comprehensive Assistance: Rural Interventions, Nursing and Guidance (CARING), a nurse-led intervention aimed at reducing disparities in quality of life for rural cancer survivors.

During active treatment, rural survivors may forgo supportive care interventions to prioritize and consolidate medical visits into one day, with the goal of minimizing travel (called “appointment stacking”). CARING connects rural survivors with an oncology-specialized registered nurse several weeks after the completion of active treatment, to exclusively focus on lingering supportive care needs.

After Dr. DeGuzman’s presentation, NCCS CEO Shelley Fuld Nasso moderated a discussion featuring questions from the audience.

Watch the full video below or watch on YouTube.

Note: Due to a technical glitch, the Q&A portion of the webinar is audio only.

Webinar Slides and Links Discussed

Dr. Pamela DeGuzman is an Associate Professor of Nursing at the University of Virginia School of Nursing. She has worked with individuals with cancer since 1996, beginning her career as a bedside nurse at Georgetown Medical Center in Washington, DC. She obtained her PhD in 2012 and joined the faculty of the UVa School of Nursing. In addition to developing innovative nurse-led care models, she is currently studying the implementation of telemedicine video visits in rural public libraries and has written the foundational research agenda aimed at studying this practice. She has published more than 40 peer-reviewed articles.

Survivorship Champions is supported by an educational grant from Bristol-Myers Squibb.