January 15, 2016 marked the first symposium formally looking at cancer survivorship issues and I’m attending as an American Society of Clinic Oncology (ASCO) patient advocate. As a 12-year prostate cancer society, I’m thrilled to see ASCO and it’s partners bring this symposium to life.
If you are a Twitter user, you can follow the conference using the hashtag #survonc16.
One key theme from Day 1 was the need for a coherent Cancer Survivor Plan (CSP) for cancer survivors and service providers. Recent federal regulations require that formal plans be given to all patients, but the regulation will be phased over the next five years. We’ll be talking more about survivor plans in this blog in the future.
A second theme is ‘late effects,’ conditions that come from treatment. I was very surprised to learn that 3/4 of all cancer survivors have at least one chronic medical condition at 10 years after treatment, stemming from their cancer treatment. This data comes from youth cancer statistics.
Radiation and chemotherapy treatments are common causes of these chronic conditions. There is a movement towards more structured cancer treatment and cancer survivor plans. You can find information on ASCO plans at the following link – CANCER TREATMENT PLANS.
A third them is that many cancer patients get ‘lost in transition’ at the end of their formal treatment and that more structure for the post-treatment period is needed. One problem, of course, is that there is little to no insurance coverage for support other than surveillance for recurrence.
Another important theme concerned the ‘cancer survivorship team;’ who are the team members and who should ‘captain’ the team. The speaker suggested that this be the primary care physician (PCP) who knows the patient the best and who will be treating the survivor in the period after than cancer treatment is competed.
I’ll be talking more about my insights and take-aways from the conference in future posts. In the meantime, stay well and keep exercising.
All the best,