Every cancer patient looks forward to the day when his or her doctor says that cancer treatment is complete. That milestone marks the beginning of a new journey through cancer survivorship. The achievement is often marked with joy and relief, but a survivor’s life may also be fraught with worry and uncertainty.
As cancer screenings, diagnosis and treatment have improved, more and more people are living out their lives as cancer survivors. This growing population has garnered the attention of organizations dedicated to helping people with cancer, such as the National Comprehensive Cancer Network, a nonprofit alliance of leading cancer centers, and the American College of Surgeons Commission on Cancer. They are working to ensure that care for cancer patients doesn’t end when treatment does. At the end of treatment, patients should have a written survivorship care plan to help continue the high quality of their ongoing care, give them greater control over their care and help them follow their doctors’ recommendations.
Improving quality of life
For some cancer patients, life after treatment does not go back to the way it was before their diagnosis. Instead, they may need to manage side effects from cancer treatment or other health conditions. But because problems like fatigue, sexual dysfunction, anxiety or inability to concentrate may seem relatively minor compared to surviving cancer itself, survivors may simply accept them. However, these issues can have a big impact on quality of life, so it’s important to address them with a healthcare provider.
There are effective treatments and/or ways to deal with many common issues affecting cancer survivors, such as depression and anxiety, cognitive or attention challenges, sleep problems, pain and bone loss.
Information about healthy lifestyle practices and managing risks is also part of follow-up treatment. Learning how healthy eating habits, exercise and relaxation techniques can improve quality of life helps many cancer survivors live life to the fullest.
The care you deserve
Baptist Cancer Center will be at your side through treatment and beyond
if you or a loved one is diagnosed with cancer. Our expert oncologists understand that cancer care is about more than surviving cancer. It’s about living a happy, healthy and fulfilling life.
Creating a survivorship care plan
The certified Nurse Navigators at Baptist Cancer Center provide support to help patients “navigate” through the complex healthcare network from diagnosis and survivorship. This is a FREE service offered by Baptist Beaumont Hospital.
Our Nurse Navigators create individualized survivorship care plans, coordinating with primary care providers, oncologists and other specialists to provide:
- Contact information for the patient’s care team.
- A summary of the survivor’s diagnosis and treatment.
- A complete list of signs and symptoms to watch for and be aware of. It includes possible signs of recurrence or progression of the cancer as well as long-term and late effects of cancer and its treatment.
- Information about how to manage ongoing symptoms.
- A schedule of which doctors the survivor should see, and when, for care and monitoring.
For more information or to schedule a consultation with our Nurse Navigators, visit www.bhset.net/CancerCenter or call (409) 212-7950.