What is Survivorship? The National Coalition for Cancer Survivorship (NCCS) considers someone a cancer “survivor” from the day of diagnosis throughout the rest of life. At Minnesota Oncology, we agree with this definition. If you are at the start of your journey or have had a change in treatment, you may or may not feel like a cancer survivor. That’s okay. We still consider you a cancer survivor. We define survivorship from the time of diagnosis and continuing through treatment and afterwards until the end of life. Survivorship care also includes the family members, friends and caregivers who are members of your inner circle and who contribute to your emotional and physical well-being.
Read about how Minnesota Oncology’s Survivorship Program changed one patient’s life in the Fall/Winter issue of Cancer Care Today.
Why is Survivorship Care Important?
A person’s life can change dramatically after a cancer diagnosis. It can cause physical, emotional and functional distress. In addition to finding the cancer treatment that is best for you, your emotional needs are of equal importance. From diagnosis to end of life, survivorship care will focus on improving your quality of life. Our Advanced Practice Providers are here to support your physician’s treatment plan and to help you achieve and maintain your highest quality of life during treatment and in the months and years to follow.
What will the Survivorship Program do for me?
Our goal is to care for the whole person, tailoring your care plan to focus on your physical, social, emotional, and functional needs. One of our Advanced Practice Providers will meet with you to assess your needs and answer your questions. This conversation may include, but is not limited to the following goals:
- Discuss your treatment plan
- Review treatment(s) you have received and discuss follow-up plan
- Assess your current physical, social, emotional, and functional needs
- Explore and enhance your coping skills
- Connect you to community or practice resources
- Manage and understand late effects from treatment
- Understand the purpose and importance of Healthcare Directives
When will my Survivorship Program begin?
Cancer survivorship care will begin shortly after you and your oncologist determine your treatment plan. This is often a stressful time of uncertainty. By introducing survivorship care early, we can improve your ability to cope with therapy while maintaining a satisfying everyday life.
You may have one-on-one visits with a survivorship professional at diagnosis, upon treatment completion, and 3-12 months after completing treatment to evaluate late or long-term side effects. Survivorship visits can also be requested at other times if there is an expressed need.
Where shall I go for my Survivorship visits?
Minnesota Oncology provides survivorship care at 10 different clinic locations. If it is not available at your clinic, you can be seen at a different site for your survivorship visit.