We’re revisiting 20 years of advocacy with our 20 Years Later blog series. In this video, NCCS CEO Shelley Fuld Nasso introduces the 6th principle of the Imperatives for Quality Cancer Care and discusses progress and remaining opportunities for meeting the needs of cancer patients and survivors.
The sixth principle in the Imperatives for Quality Cancer Care states, “People with histories of cancer have the right to continued medical follow-up with basic standards of care that include the specific needs of long-term survivors.”
Scientific breakthroughs and medical advances have changed the course of cancer care in our country. While for many cancer diagnoses, we have effective treatments, recovering from cancer is not without its challenges. After treatment ends, many survivors are left to manage their own follow-up care without the assistance of a survivorship care plan. This is a tremendous burden.
Twenty years ago, the Imperatives report noted that millions of long-term survivors essentially have no specialized follow-up. Unfortunately, survivorship care planning is still not standard practice 20 years later, and many cancer survivors lack access to integrated survivorship care. NCCS has been committed to raising the awareness of the need for specialized survivorship care and to increasing adoption of survivorship care planning.
Some long-term follow-up services that should be available to all cancer survivors include access to:
• a survivorship care plan;
• long-term follow-up clinics that provide appropriate standards of care;
• ongoing psychosocial support, including individual or family counseling, support groups, and information and referral services; and
• finally, education about prevention of secondary cancers, screening, rehabilitation and treatment of late effects.
This month we will be reviewing the historical role of survivorship care plans and addressing how detailed survivorship care plans prepare cancer survivors to manage their long-term follow-up care. We will also share the perspective of cancer survivors on their efforts to access appropriate survivorship care. We look forward to your participation in this month’s conversation.