April 16, 2013

Cancer Survivorship Tools

Take Charge of Your Medical Future:

Tools to Help You

Lillian Meacham, MD

AFLAC Cancer Center, Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta

 Many forms of lifesaving cancer treatment can unfortunately come with a cost; these costs are called late effects. The field of survivorship developed to organize long-term follow-up for survivors so that through planned surveillance survivors can be regularly screened for late effects. If these late effects are present, then they can be treated so that the impact they can have on health can minimized and quality of life for the survivors preserved.

Planned surveillance should be directed by a survivor healthcare plan (SHP).

What is a SHP?

An SHP is a document that includes the following information:

  1. a summary of cancer treatment
  2. an individualized late effects risk profile
  3. a surveillance/screening plan to detect the late effect[s] for which a survivor is at risk sooner rather than later

*Parts 2 and 3 of the SHP should be based on the Children’s Oncology Group (COG) Long-Term Follow-Up Guidelines for Survivors of Pediatric Adolescent or Young Adult Cancer.

How can a survivor get a SHP?

  1. Schedule a cancer survivor visit at the institution where you were treated. They have your records and should be able to generate a SHP for you or tell you where to go to get one. Once you have a SHP anyone can follow the survivor care road map. survivor doctor or your primary care doctor can follow you using your SHP.In Georgia, we have a partnership with seven universities and students can receive their annual surveillance in the campus health centers. In the Aflac Cancer Survivor Program we have developed a web based communication tool Cancer SurvivorLinkTM where survivors can store key health documents like a SHP so they are always available to them. They can also “share” the SHP with any healthcare provider registered on Cancer SurvivorLink. There are helpful handouts on SurvivorLink to help survivors “talk” to their providers and explain why they need them to register on this website. An additional nice resource on SurvivorLink is the virtual library of educational materials on late effects and survivor care written specifically for survivors and their families and a separate virtual library for healthcare providers.

So, we encourage you to take charge of your health, find a survivor clinic, get a SHP, register on SurvivorLink and create an e-chart where you can store your important health documents.

 

 

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