In the U.S., half of all men and one-third of all women will develop cancer in their lifetimes, according to the Institute of Medicine. But today, more people are surviving cancer than ever before – an estimated 11.1 million Americans are living with a previous diagnosis of cancer. With that in mind, the Joan Karnell Supportive Care Services at Pennsylvania Hospital developed a survivorship program designed to help patients not only from the point of treatment completion but throughout the rest of their lives.
Your health care team will help by developing a treatment summary specific to your individual case. These detailed reports will document your diagnosis, including cancer stage, specific types of treatment as well as any other medical concerns that may arise as the result of the disease and its treatment. You will receive your treatment summary when you are completing your cancer treatment, and a copy will be sent to your primary care provider and any other specialist whom you designate.
It is important that you understand and adhere to the follow up schedule that your clinicians develop for you. This individualized schedule will help your health care team to monitor your health and observe for any long term side effects of treatment. You will receive a copy of your follow up schedule when you are completing your cancer treatment.
Not all cancer survivors experience late effects (or issues that arise as a result of treatment or disease). About two-thirds of survivors will experience a late effect (either physical or psychosocial) of chemotherapy or radiation that persists or develops more than five years from the time of diagnosis. It’s important for you to know what your risks are so that you and your physician can appropriately monitor your health. Your health care team will discuss any pertinent late effects with you and together you will develop a plan to monitor and treat late effects.