In this issue of Conquering the Cancer Care Continuum you will learn about a hot topic that most cancer centers and oncologists are struggling to make a reality: survivorship care plans for all cancer survivors at the end of (acute) treatment, coupled with a comprehensive treatment summary. There is good news and bad news to share with you about the need for this document.
Cancer remains the second leading cause of death in the United States, and the American Cancer Society estimates there are approximately 13.7 million cancer survivors in the United States, with 18 million projected by 2022.
In our community cancer center, identifying and diagnosing a second malignancy in a patient like LM is highly unusual. However, as one of a constellation of known survivorship issues in patients treated with chemotherapy and/or radiation therapy, we teach pharmacy students and medical residents training at our site to internalize a philosophy of “pattern recognition.”
In 2005, the Institute of Medicine released a report with a title that became a wake-up call for many in the field of oncology, From Cancer Patient to Cancer Survivor: Lost in Transition. A committee of 17 experts in the field set out to raise awareness of the consequences of having cancer and cancer treatments, to define a standard of healthcare quality for cancer survivors, and to determine how to implement that quality and to improve the quality of life of cancer survivors.