Cancer Survivorship includes anyone who has been diagnosed with cancer, from the time of diagnosis through the rest of his or her life. There are millions of adults and children in India who are cancer survivors and everyone has a different story of facing life forward cancer.
Cancer is itself a great influence on every patient’s life; most cancer survivors feel they’re living their life with a different perspective. The perspective to adjust with new feelings and to face problems differently, living their life like adapting a new world. These changes in living life in a different way can bring lots of questions for a cancer patient.
Frequently Discussed Queries:
A cancer patient encounters 3 phases of survivorship:
Acute Survivorship: The first phase starts with diagnosis and goes to the end of the initial treatment of cancer. The center of focus is cancer treatment.
Extended Survivorship: The second phase starts with the end of initial treatment and goes for several months when the symptoms are viewed more vividly. Here, the focus shifts to effects and treatment.
Permanent Survivorship: The final phase is encountered after years passed since cancer treatment ended. This phase assures that chances for cancer to come back are reduced positively. The focus is drawn on the long-term effects of cancer and treatment.
Q: What medical concerns do patients have right after treatment ends?
Cancer patients are generally anxious thinking about the future and how they’ll catch back the routine with a trauma. The time after completing therapy can bring stress which has many reasons for it.
The anxiety pops the question that what is the possibility that cancer could return or how capable everyone would consider them after this. Doubting the capabilities and living the risks could be a lot to go through for a patient.
Understanding the possibilities of cancer to return, many patients fear that what if they missed some symptoms carelessly or not early enough. But, studies have proved that some patients may encounter some false symptoms after treatment or sometimes the actual symptoms stay like it is common for patients to experience fatigue, difficulty sleeping, problems with memory, persistent pain or tingling from neuropathy, and emotional distress.
The curiosity of the patient stays for what symptoms to look to detect a return. The patient should consider every difficulty which the medication and the treatment could have caused and should take complete care with proper supervision.
Q What is a cancer survivorship care plan?
There are 5 key areas of cancer survivorship, focusing on the role of primary care clinicians and other clinicians who care for post‐treatment cancer survivors.
The 5 areas covered include 1) surveillance for cancer recurrence, 2) screening for second primary cancers, 3) assessment and management of physical and psychosocial long‐term and late effects of cancer and treatment, 4) health promotion, and 5) care coordination and practice implications
1). Surveillance for cancer recurrence:
Medical experts should monitor the patient with complete uniqueness considering the age, treatments, medications, and the diagnosis and should assure that the patient receives a detailed cancer‐related history and physical examination every 3 to 6 months for the first 3 years after therapy, every 6‐12 month for the next 2 year, and annually thereafter. Specific tests like blood markers, CT scans, or mammograms should be offered according to national guidelines.
2). Screening for second primary cancers:
Diagnosed with one cancer does not mean that a person will not get another site cancer. So, alongside care and treatment for the acquired cancer, the clinicians should consider the possibility of other cancer too and facilitate the screenings they would for patients in the general population.
3). Assessment and management of physical and psychosocial long‐term and late effects of cancer and treatment:
Clinicians should assess for patient body image/appearance concerns, cardiac toxicity, cognitive difficulties, distress, depression, and/or anxiety, fatigue and treat any causative factors for fatigue and bone health, pain and neuropathy, sexual health, etc.
4). Health promotion:
Clinicians should counsel survivors to achieve and maintain a healthy weight, engage in regular physical activity, nutrition, smoking cessation, etc.
5). Care coordination and practice implications:
To optimize the health of the patient, primary care clinicians should coordinate the treatment team and supervise a treatment summary and survivorship care plan. To get the most of the care, well-wishers like spouses, siblings, and caregivers should be encouraged to help with their possible efforts.
Cancer survivorship is a lesson for everyone associated with the patient, as being the well-wishers they have to make sure the patient easily comprehends the treatments and positively accepts the changes that he could encounter in his after cancer treatments. Every hand raised in his support will be the hand to help him live life better.