Survivorship Care Plans

Understanding Survivorship Care Plans

Why is Survivorship so important?

Cancer Survivors are a vulnerable population

  • History of cancer may shift attention from important health problems unrelated to cancer
  • Roles of primary care providers and specialists in care of cancer survivors is not clear
  • Quality of life issues are different for survivors than for patients at the point of diagnosis and on treatment

Impact of Cancer Treatment

  • Spectrum of late complications with potential to compromise quality of life
  • Long term adverse outcomes are more prevalent, serious and persistent than expected

Consequences Commonly Observed in Survivors

  • Changes in family roles
  • Fear and uncertainty
  • Alterations in self image and self esteem
  • Changes in comfort, physiological functioning and mobility
  • Alterations in cognitive functioning
  • Changes in employment and recreation
  • Altered fertility and sexuality
  • Difficulties accessing on-going health care
  • Increased risks for additional cancer diagnoses

The importance of Survivorship Care Plans

A survirorship Care Plan is the record of a patient’s cancer history and recommendations for follow-up care.  SCPs prepare survivors for the transition from the active treatment phase to the post-treatment survivorship phase.  The SCP should define responsibilities of cancer-related, non-cancer-related, and psychosocial providers.  Follow-up care plans are essential for empowering survivors and primary care practitioners and informing them of the follow-up care and monitoring required.

Key elements of a survivorship care plan, includes, but is not limited to:

  • Personal and demographic information
  • Basic diagnostic information and treatment summary
  • Medical history and medications
  • A follow-up plan or care test
  • Professional resources, such as doctors, nurses, social workers
  • Transitioning from cancer treatment
  • Recommendations and guidelines for coping and adjustment
  • Recommendations and guidelines for healthy living
  • Resources and activities for survivors
  • Contact information for the care team