Trend: Cancer centers offer more survivor care

Researchers estimate that there are 12 million people in the U.S. who are done with cancer treatment. However, in the past, little has been done to help such survivors watch for new cancer outbreaks and cope with risks created by the chemicals and radiation.

Right now, a surprisingly small number of patients receive adequate information about post-treatment care. Increasingly, however, cancer centers are developing "survivorship" programs to help these patients. They've been nudged by an influential Institute of Medicine report called "Lost in Transition," published in 2005, as well as advocacy efforts by groups focused on cancer treatment issues.

Centers are setting up survivor clinics that help patients watch for new cancers as well as manage symptoms related to their past treatment. They're also studying physical and emotional needs of cancer survivors, and how to better coordinate care between cancer specialists and primary-care doctors.

Meanwhile, a new Web plan from the University of Pennsylvania's Abramson Cancer Center, OncoLife, has been launched to help patients develop their own survivorship-care plans. The plans include a list of what tests they should receive and what they can do to ward off future cancer episodes.

To learn more about this trend:
- read this Philadelphia Inquirer piece

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