What is a cancer survivorship care plan?

Dr. Shelby A. Terstriep, MD

A cancer survivorship care plan is a document that explains what kinds of long term side effects you may experience from your cancer therapy. It also explains what symptoms you should report to your medical team and it also outlines what kind of follow up you should have and who should do this follow up.

It can you help you feel in control of what to watch out for but it can also help to inform your primary care provider.

The definition of survivorship is the first day of cancer diagnosis onward. A survivorship care plan consists of the following:

  • A summary of the survivor's cancer history and treatment in order to help survivors better understand their medical history
  • A personalized risk assessment with medical surveillance guidelines to instruct the survivor regarding the monitoring for a potential recurrence, a second malignancy and the long-term and late effect consequences of cancer and their specific treatments
  • Preventive practice recommendations specifically for cancer survivors that promote personal health such as lifestyle modifications, diet, physical activity and smoking cessation
  • Navigation to appropriate health care providers, community-based resources and services, as well as regional and national programs addressing all aspects of survivorship including fertility, lifestyle, psychosocial issues, insurance, employability and legal protection
  • A survivor notebook to consolidate all records and resources, which becomes a portable detail of records, resources and information that survivors may choose to share with other health care providers.
Dr. Stewart B. Fleishman, MD
Psychiatrist (Therapist)

A cancer survivorship care plan is a document that can help your primary care provider make sure you're getting the follow-up care you need, explains palliative medicine specialist Dr. Stewart Fleishman. Learn more about cancer survivorship care plans by watching the video.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.