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Survivorship Care Plans

Childhood cancer survivors have unique health care needs. A survivorship care plan can empower survivors and their health care providers to work together to meet those needs.

The plan is a concise, complete record of a patient’s treatment, specific medical concerns, and recommended health screenings – all contained in one document.

Because childhood cancer is rare, most primary care health providers may only see 1 or 2 childhood cancer survivors during their medical careers. As a result, they may not be familiar with the late effects of childhood cancer treatment. Late effects are health conditions that develop later, months or years after treatment has finished. Depending on the treatment, survivors may need certain health screenings earlier or more frequently than other adults.

The survivor’s pediatric cancer center can provide a survivor with his or her plan. Some centers have online tools for survivors to create their own. Survivors typically receive an updated copy each time they visit the long-term follow-up clinic at their pediatric cancer center.

Survivors as Advocates

Survivors can easily share survivorship care plans with their primary care physician and other health care providers including dentists, eye doctors, counselors, and chiropractors if they see one. They should have an updated plan with them each time they visit a provider.

Survivors should know as much as possible about the treatment they received and the follow-up care they need. For example, a patient who received radiation to the chest area may be at higher risk for breast cancer, heart problems, and lung conditions. It helps the primary care physician and survivor to know these risks to know when to schedule certain screenings, to run specific tests, and consult a specialist if needed.

What a Survivorship Care Plan Includes

Each plan is specific to that patient.

Treatment Summary

The summary of treatment contains:

  • Cancer details: location, stage and grade, cell/ tissue type, and marker information
  • Dates of treatment start and finish
  • Treatment details: treatment type, medications, treatment regimen, total dosage, identifying number and title of clinical trials (if any), treatment response, and side effects
  • Clinical support services provided
  • Contact information for treatment center and main care providers
  • Main point of contact and care coordinator

Plan for Follow-Up Care

It may include:

  • Ways to manage treatment side effects
  • Schedules of screenings and exams/ tests needed to check for return of cancer and other conditions
  • Possible late and long-term effects of treatment and their signs and symptoms 
  • Potential effects on family relationships, school, and work
  • Referral for family and employment support
  • Educational, insurance, employment, and financial concerns 
  • Referrals for financial and legal aid
  • Recommendations for healthy lifestyles, such as nutrition and physical activity
  • Genetic counseling and testing 
  • Referrals to specialists needed for follow-up care
  • Cancer-related resources

Online care plan tools

Certain organizations have online tools to help create survivorship care plan. These include:

Patients should consult with their doctor before using one of these tools.


Together
does not endorse any branded product mentioned in this article.


Reviewed: June 2018

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