Why Are Survivorship Care Plans Not Being Received?


The transition into survivorship is no easy feat. Emotions are mixed, long-term and late side effects may kick in and follow-up care appointments start. But are survivors getting the best possible care after cancer treatment? That’s still up for debate.

Survivorship care plans were introduced in 2005 by the National Research Council and Institute of Medicine, which recommended that every patient receive an individualized plan that includes guidelines for monitoring and maintaining their health. Thirteen years later, not every patient receives one as they enter life after cancer.

The cover story of Heal® delves into the history of survivorship care plans, what the documents should entail and how the National Coalition for Cancer Survivorship advocates for anyone affected by the disease. A three-time survivor and registered nurse shares how her cardiologist “missed the boat” regarding her heart health decades after she completed cancer treatment. She also names what she says is the gap in survivorship care: communication.

Major League Baseball Hall of Famer Mike Schmidt talks about how he turned his melanoma diagnosis into advocacy work. The former third baseman for the Philadelphia Phillies grew up spending time outdoors. A lifeguard in his younger years followed by an 18-year career in the major leagues meant lots of sunshine and without sunscreen, he confessed. As a five-year survivor, Schmidt now uses his celebrity to raise awareness about skin cancer. His latest project involves installing sunscreen dispensers at Citizens Bank Park — the home of the Phillies — and throughout the city with a hope to take this across the country.

Also, in this issue is a look at returning to work after cancer. Does going back to the same job seem right or is taking on a new career path the best move? Whichever a survivor chooses, it’s crucial for them to know their rights. CancerCare offers useful tips for how to handle the job hunt, coworkers and stress that comes with life after treatment. Survivors can also learn more in Heal ® about treating insomnia, caregiver depression and creative writing interventions for young adults.

We hope that you find in these pages both practical information and everyday inspiration, and as always, thank you for reading.

Chairman and CEO 
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