Posted on Oct 27, 2014

Ohio State University, the University of Cincinnati and Indiana University have created the Midwest Consortium for Cancer Survivorship Education and Research with an aim to better equip nurses, doctors and others to help patients moving forward from cancer treatment.

These three academic medical centers believe on the importance of caring for people who’ve lived through cancer treatment.

The remnants of cancer and its treatment are physical and mental and growing body research is focused on improving the understanding of both.

There are more than 14.5 million cancer survivors in the United States. The American Cancer Society expects this number to grow to nearly 18 million in the next eight years.

Leading authorities on cancer care are pushing for better-coordinated and personally tailored care for post-treatment patients. The tailored care includes individualized cancer survivorship plans that take into account likely long-term side effects of treatment.

The goal is to empower survivors and offer support and resources and help guide them to the right resources. A patient is not only important before the disease is eradicated; there is a greater recognition of the patient as a whole person.

A cancer diagnosis affects a patient’s entire life as well as their loved ones and support system.

Primary-care doctors and general oncologists can’t possibly keep up on all the advances in understanding about survivorship care. That is why it is so much more important for those who are focused on post-treatment care to guide them.

There are questions about long-term health effects, such as bone loss, lymphedema and heart problems, as well as how nutrition and exercise fit in. The answers continue to evolve, leaving patients feeling confused and alone in the process.

If the treatment is curing a patient, but also causing him to have lifelong pain or cognitive dysfunction then the quality of life is not as good as he would hope.

The American College of Surgeons’ Commission on Cancer has included cancer survivorship plans in its criteria for accreditation.


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Gerry Oginski
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