Deaconess Cancer Services defines cancer survivorship as a person living with, through, and beyond cancer. Survivorship begins the day of diagnosis and extends for the rest of the patient’s life.
Cancer survivorship is on the rise due to both improved early detection of cancer, as well as advancements in cancer treatment. According to the American Cancer Society, there will be 18 million cancer survivors living in the United States by the year 2020.
While completing treatment is a relief, it can also be a scary and unsettling time, as there is often a feeling of, “OK, now what?” Patients don’t always know what to expect, what ongoing health conditions or symptoms to watch for, or how to best care for themselves going forward.
Oncology Survivorship Nurse Navigators and advance practice clinicians can play an important role in the care of the patient. The need for preventive and ongoing medical treatment requires close monitoring and coordination to ensure patients are provided with the appropriate resources and information.
Deaconess Cancer Service’s clinical team includes the area’s first Oncology Clinical Nurse Specialists (CNS), an advanced practice nurse,
focused on transition of care for the patient from active treatment to survivorship. During the transition of care visit, the CNS will perform physical assessment including nutritional, rehabilitation and distress management, and also provide the patient with a complete survivorship care plan (SCP). The survivorship care plan includes the patient’s cancer treatment history, surveillance recommendations and follow-up care recommendations.