Once your treatment is complete, the focus of your care swiftly changes from therapy to healing, recovery, and prevention. One way to guide your care moving forward is through a document called a Survivorship Care Plan – a blueprint for managing your future care. Anyone can get a survivorship care plan, at any time, throughout their cancer journey.
This document has two parts – an end of treatment summary and a care plan. The end of treatment summary condenses the history of your cancer and its treatments. This information is then used by your oncology team to create your care plan, which includes the recommendations for managing your health and cancer monitoring moving forward.
An end of treatment summary will be created by the oncology team that treated you. Some survivors have found it difficult to locate their treatment summary information further down the road, so it is important for you to request this once treatment ends, or soon thereafter.
If you are no longer being seen by an oncologist, you may consider contacting the office or the hospital where you were treated to get a summary of the treatment you received. You may also consider obtaining a copy of your medical records – particularly your pathology report, a copy of the imaging reports, and a disk with your actual scans on them to attach to your entire Survivorship Care Plan.
Once you have your Survivorship Care Plan in hand, share it with other members of your healthcare team. Sharing this information will ensure your future health monitoring and preventive care moving forward.
Cancer Survivorship Care Plans: What You Need to Know
This video was created by the California Dialogue on Cancer, California Public Health, and Triage Cancer to help you understand the goals and elements of survivorship care plans. It provides a variety of ways to obtain a survivorship care plan.
On Your Own: Starting Your Personal Survivorship Care Plan
If you are unable to obtain a care plan from your oncology team, it is still important document your care and obtain a plan for life after cancer. Your first step is to get a summary of your treatments from your oncology provider. Choose and print one of the templates below, and begin to fill-in as much information as you can. Then, make an appointment with your oncology provider to review and complete the missing pieces. It is important keep a copy of your completed Survivorship Care Plan for yourself and to share it with the other members of your healthcare team. This gives everyone a better understanding of how you will be monitored after your treatment ends. This information is powerful – the more you understand your plan of care going forward, the better prepared you are to enlist your entire team to help you heal, recover, and stay healthy.
What’s Next? Life After Cancer Treatment
The Minnesota Cancer Alliance has created this Cancer Survivor Care Plan booklet to help you keep track of the details of your cancer treatment, talk to your healthcare provider about your symptoms, to understand the short and long-term side effects from your treatments, and manage your follow-up care. This booklet can help you develop a plan to take care of your physical, emotional, and practical needs and concerns related to post-treatment survivorship. You can order a free copy from the Minnesota Cancer Alliance here.
Journey Forward My Care Plan
After printing My Care Plan, fill in the general information and self-assessment to the best of your ability. Then, work with your oncology team to fill in the details of the Treatment Summary and Follow-up Care sections. Go to Journey Forward to learn more about the process and resources. Be sure to visit the Journey Forward Survivorship Library. The template is also available as a free mobile app (iOS and Android).
This is an online tool you can use by completing questions about your cancer treatment experience, which are then used to create a survivorship care plan that you can print out and take to your oncology and primary care team to review. OncoLink has a large collection of the potential late and long-term side effects from treatment.
The Society of Gynecologic Oncology has developed a number of resources for cancer survivors to help guide you on the next steps after treatment. They include care plans to download for survivors of cervical, endometrial, and vulvar cancers. General follow-up recommendations and post-treatment self-care plans for these cancers are also available.
These are meant to be printed and filled in to the best of your ability. They should be completed alongside your cancer care team, and used in addition to their follow-up and monitoring recommendations. Remember to share your Survivorship Care Plan with all of your healthcare providers.
Helping You Move Forward
Great tips from an article in Cure Today, written by the cancer support community, IHadCancer. The goal of IHadCancer is to make connections that prevent the feeling of isolation experienced by those who have been affected by cancer. In addition to offering the ability to connect with others who may be experiencing the same journey, there is an array of resources and articles written by survivors on survivorship topics.
The NIH National Cancer Institute has compiled this booklet for people who have finished their cancer treatments. The booklet is free and can be downloaded to print or to a tablet device, such as a Kindle. The information provides answers to questions and concerns patients and survivors might have to help them understand what life is like after cancer treatments end.
Journey Forward has a collection of topics, including information on late and long-term effects and other survivorship care links to credible resources for patients and families.
Dana Farber was one of the first hospitals in the nation to begin acknowledging survivorship as a true phase of the cancer journey. Individuals who have survived cancer may face many challenges resulting from their cancer and treatments. Dana Farber has brought together experts from many fields to talk about the variety of issues cancer survivors face. There are 21 different topics, including nutrition, the importance of follow-up care, physical exercise, learning about symptoms to report to your doctor, fear of recurrence, and creating a survivorship care plan. They also have wonderful Information Sheets for Cancer Survivors, and a Cancer Survivorship Blog with timely topics to help cancer patients and survivors stay on top of what’s new in the cancer survivorship realm.
Dana Farber has a variety of webinars and videos designed to help you gain an understanding of the issues related to a healthy survivorship. These videos are an exceptional way to learn about the challenges you, as a cancer survivor, could now be facing.
There are clinics nationwide that have specific training, knowledge, and management skills for the late and long-term effects of cancer and its treatments. This resource from OncoLink helps patients and healthcare providers locate these clinics.