More and more people are surviving cancer and living many years as survivors. In fact, there are now more than 10 million cancer survivors in the United States.
Patients receive excellent care during their diagnosis and treatment, and report feeling supported and cared for. However, after treatment ends, many patients find the transition into cancer survivorship challenging. Fear of recurrence, fatigue and other long-term effects of cancer treatment are common problems. Patients are often uncertain what to expect going forward, both clinically and psychosocially.
Our Cancer Team has developed a new program called Living Well, A Program for Those Surviving Cancer. It is designed for cancer survivors, families, and others with the aim of improving quality of care and quality of life. The program integrates existing supportive services and education with new programming to support physical, emotional, psychological and spiritual well-being.
The Living Well Program provides an array of supportive services, resources, and educational events offered to all patients during the course of their treatment and beyond. All patients continue to be eligible after treatment ends for Integrative Therapies, including Healing Touch (offered at no charge), massage therapy (fee for service), and an Exercise Program (fee for service). The services of the Cancer Center Support Team, including the Cancer Guide, chaplain, dietitian and social worker continue to be available at no charge.
A six-week series, called the Cancer Survivorship Group, is scheduled throughout the year that offers support in exploring survivorship issues: mind, body, spirit and relationship. Participants support one another as they develop their own healing plan and learn daily practices that help in cancer recovery.
A new focus of the Living Well Program provides a survivorship care plan to breast cancer patients and their primary care provider. These patients are seen within six weeks of the end of treatment for a survivorship interview which provides support for survivorship needs and set new goals for healthy living. The long range goal is for all patients to receive a survivorship care plan and the follow-up interview when their treatment is completed.
We're confident that our patients will feel supported not only during their treatment, but as they move beyond into survivorship and the challenges that may bring.