There is good news in the fight against cancer: many more people are surviving cancer than was previously the case. In fact, the number of survivors in the United States has increased fourfold in the last 30 years. A recent study that looked at cancer diagnoses in the United States between 2009 and 2013, however, found that up to 25% of adults newly diagnosed with cancer had a history of prior cancer. And after five years of survival, only about a third of cancer survivors continue to be cared for by specialists related to their original cancer.
Some patients feel a sense of abandonment by their oncologists at the end of active cancer treatment when the oncologist suggests their role is no longer needed. However, education about what to expect and available resources can limit anxiety and depression that might occur. Structured care plans can help ease the transition back to primary care and ensure that regimens for preventative care and screenings are established.
The Commission on Cancer (CoC) has mandated that accredited organizations provide 50% of their eligible patients with survivorship care plans by December 31, 2018. All centers accredited by National Accreditation Program for Breast Centers (NAPBC) will also be expected to provide survivorship care plans to 50% of eligible patients by the end of 2017 and beyond.
The Emmi® multimedia program, Survivorship: Oncology, can support your organization’s efforts by introducing cancer survivors to the concept of a survivorship care plan and explaining the components of one. It can also be useful for staff training to raise awareness around the benefits of and need for survivorship care plans.