Just like the doctors, nurses and therapists who prescribed a personalized treatment plan, now there are doctors, nurses and therapists who prescribe a post treatment plan. The professionals at the breast cancer survivorship clinics, programs and centers in select hospitals around the country understand your treatment history and know the potential near and late effects you may experience. Some have new titles you haven’t heard, like “Cardio-Oncologist”, or “Survivorship Coordinator”. And they can help you prevent or manage issues related to your treatments or cancer. And the research they conduct keeps them attuned to the life style and medical choices that can help lower your risk of recurrence.
Cancer survivorship programs, clinics and centers vary at every cancer center and hospital. Some offer all of these services; others offer only a few. Ask your oncology provider for the following essentials of survivorship care, according to the National Academy of Sciences:
- An organized summary of your treatment history for accurate and easy reference.
- A personalized Breast Cancer Survivorship Care Plan, based upon:
- Surveillance for cancer spread and assessment of medical and psychosocial effects
- Prevention of new cancer and other effects from the disease
- Intervention for consequences of cancer and its treatment, including lymphedema, sexual dysfunction, pain, fatigue, and issues related to employment, insurance and disability
- Coordination of care among specialists and primary care providers
- A schedule of annual checkups focused on post treatment health.
- The opportunity to participate in research studies, so you can contribute to the improved care of all breast cancer survivors.
- Special programs and workshops to keep you healthy and informed.