v4n3 - Care for the Cancer Survivor

CURE, Fall 2005, Volume 4, Issue 3

The evolution of healthcare to provide specialization in cancer survivorship is under way. The Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, for example, has established the Lance Armstrong Foundation Adult Survivorship Clinic (617-632-5100), which is open to any patient who has completed primary cancer therapy.

The clinic is breaking ground by treating cancer survivors as a discrete population, providing tailored treatment that addresses everything from infertility and sexual problems to cardiovascular disease, osteoporosis and post-traumatic stress disorder. The clinic also encompasses a research program to study the emerging field of adult cancer survivorship.

The Lance Armstrong Foundation Cancer Survivorship Center (702-821-0000) at the Nevada Cancer Institute helps patients in understanding treatment options, and a survivorship coordinator provides support and information to patients and their families.

Rainbow Babies (www.rainbowbabies.org), part of University Hospitals of Cleveland’s Ireland Cancer Center, includes a center for childhood cancer survivors. Survivors are followed over time to better understand their issues and needs and identify successful interventions.

Patients come to the University of Pennsylvania Cancer Center’s Living Well After Cancer Program (215-615-3371) for evaluations and recommendations regarding their personal risk factors for developing problems after treatment. In addition, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center has a Post-Treatment Resource Program (212-717-3527, www.mskcc.org).

These centers are just a handful of the numerous programs that are part of a nascent but growing medical focus on survivorship healthcare. But for survivors with limited healthcare coverage or no coverage at all, such programs may be out of reach. Ron Weitzel’s HMO, for instance, limited where he could go for treatment. “I couldn’t really shop around,” he says.

But Weitzel and others can turn to nonprofit groups, such as the National Coalition for Cancer Survivorship (www.canceradvocacy.org), People Living With Cancer (www.plwc.org), the Cancer Survivors Network (www.acscsn.org) and the Cancer Survivors Project (www.cancersurvivorsproject.org). They offer resources for the millions who have moved through cancer treatment.