Last week, I joined the Breast Cancer and Social Media (#bcsm) tweet chat. The topic of discussion was survivorship plans. A few years ago the Institute of of Medicine (IOM) studied what care was provided survivors after they finished treatment . They found that little support was available for survivorsor their doctors regarding medical or pyschosocial issues. The IOM suggested that each survivor on completion of treatment be provided a summary of their treatments and a follow-up care plan.
Kathy LaTour editor of Cure Magazine and author of the recently published article "Planning for Cancer Survivorship" was part of the discussion. She tweeted that only 43% of the NCI comprehensive cancer centers provide their patients Survivorship Care Plans (SCP)when they finish treatment. Since a large survivors are treated at their community facilities a majority of survivors do not have plans. I know I did not get a survivorship plan when I finished treatment although I had discussions with my doctor about what I should look out for and of course I had kept copies of all my scans and treatment summaries . But I was very interested in hearing what she and other participants said about the key items of information that should be in the Plan.
Not only did we discuss what information should be included in a SCP but a few participants shared links to sample SCPs. Just because survivors are not provided personalized SCP does not mean they shouldn't have one. They can develop their own with the help of some great resources. And then the next time you see your oncologist/ radiation specialist you can have them fill in the blanks. Here are some great sources on SCPs.
You can download a sample plan from the article Kathy LaTour wrote.
Here is a survivorship plan ( pdf file) for ovarian cancer which is part of the SGO Survivorship toolkit.
Here is a link to the IOM's fact sheet on Cancer Survivorship Plans.
LiveSTRONGCare Plan / Penn Medicine Oncolink
Answer a few questions and this program will develop a plan that you can discuss with your health care team
ASCO provides forms that you can fill in with your doctor
Memorial Sloan Kettering provides a concise 2 page form you can fill in with your doctor.
So fellow cancer survivors at your next follow-up visit be sure to ask your doctor about a SCP or better yet bring one of the forms with you and ask for help to fill in the blanks. This is one thing we can do to make our survivorship better.
Every Day is a blessing!