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Key Components of a Healthy Survivorship

Treatment Summary and Care Plan

This important document will summarize your medical treatment and history, communicate your plan of care to your other physicians and your family, and provide information for future surveillance and risk. This document includes:

  • Contact information so you know how to obtain additional information
  • Drug names and dosage
  • Radiation dosage: Your total dose of radiation may affect long-term risk and ability to treat the same area again.
  • Long-term or late effects

Care Coordination

As a cancer survivor, you need each of your doctors to have a complete picture of your medical journey so they can work with you to achieve your best health. Coordination among your caregivers also minimizes overlap and duplication of services, and reduces the risk that your unique needs will fall through the cracks.

It’s also important that you know which doctor or other healthcare provider is responsible for each area of your follow-up care. You need to know which doctors order which tests, and whom to call when you have questions. 

Managing Survivorship Issues

Wellness and Prevention

There is new and growing evidence that good nutrition, healthy weight, and a physically active lifestyle dramatically reduce a survivor’s risk of recurrence or second cancer. St. Luke’s Cancer Institute dietitians are available to offer personalized advice and strategies for staying healthy and active.

Physical Effects

Many patients experience long-term physical effects from cancer and cancer treatment. These side effects can include ongoing fatigue, numbness and tingling in the hands and feet, changes in weight, changes in heart function, hormonal changes, changes in sexual function, and increased risk of future cancer. Talk with your doctor or St. Luke’s Cancer Institute survivorship staff to discuss your concerns.

Emotional Challenges

One of the most common concerns for patients after treatment is fear of recurrence. A cancer diagnosis and treatment experience may cause you to feel anxious or depressed. You may also struggle to cope with the stressors and uncertainty that come after treatment is complete. Again, your doctor or St. Luke’s Cancer Institute survivorship staff can assist with these challenges.

Practical Concerns

After treatment, you may struggle to find employment and health insurance. You may also be left with mounting medical bills, and wonder how to pay them. Our patient financial advocates are a great resource, and are available to meet with you.  It’s also common for survivors to begin thinking about advanced care planning after a cancer diagnosis, and to have questions about living wills, medical decision-making, and long-term care insurance. At your request, we can provide more information and helpful forms.

Social Roles and Responsibilities

Finding a balance between work, family, patient, and caregiver can feel overwhelming after treatment. Some new survivors struggle with how to get back to “normal.” We often talk with survivors about a “new normal” and the opportunity to redefine what’s truly important to them.

Contact Us

For more information, please email our survivorship program navigator