Primary Care Providers to Serve Pivotal Role in Survivorship Care
As the American population of cancer survivors nears the 18 million mark, providing these individuals with the care they need during their post-cancer lives may require a focused plan that draws on primary care providers and oncology nurses to deliver. The American Society of Clinical Oncology recently released template recommendations for survivorship care plans that lay the groundwork for more widespread implementation of protocols to provide proper care for cancer survivors.
Survivorship care plans are designed to provide primary care providers and patients with an understanding of the post-treatment care, including surveillance and monitoring, that must remain in place for years following treatment. There are four main pillars for post-treatment care plans:
· Measures designed to prevent the recurrence of cancer and the development of new cancers
· Proper surveillance to detect recurrent or new cancers should they present
· Treatments for the late effects of cancer and those associated with cancer treatments
· Coordination between specialists and primary care providers to ensure streamlined, effective care
Widespread implementation of survivorship care plans has not occurred in the United States. That means at this point it is difficult to tell if there are patient populations who are more, or less likely to benefit from such careful monitoring in post treatment years. The new guideline templates, however, put the focus for ensuring proper care back on the primary care providers, enabling patients to work more closely with their family doctors for routine monitoring and continued care after cancer has been treated.
With nearly 18 million cancer survivors currently living in the United States, the need for continued care is a given. Survivorship care plans may pave the way for a more uniform protocol for ensuring that care is properly provided. In the absence of formalized aftercare plans, patients who have undergone treatment are urged to work with their healthcare providers to ensure that follow-up care and monitoring is provided.
North Texas Cancer Center at Wise, a division of Choice Cancer Care, is now operating as the Cancer Center at Wise Regional and is one of the most renowned cancer treatment centers in Texas.
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