People with a history of cancer are living longer due to early diagnosis and better treatments. The National Cancer Institute estimates that by the year 2020, there will be approximately 20 million cancer survivors.
Cancer survivors include you and those in your life who are touched by the diagnosis. Cancer survivorship begins the day of your cancer diagnosis and continues throughout your life.
When journeying through cancer survivorship, survivors have many things to consider, Including the emotional, physical, practical and spiritual concerns of living with cancer. Knowing what to expect during and after treatment can help you make plans for how to manage these issues to improve your quality of life, longevity and well-being.
While these issues often times are highly distressing, survivorship care at the OSUCCC – James is here to support you.
The JamesCare Survivorship department offers a wide variety of programs designed to support patients, families and caregivers during and after cancer. These include clinical services, support groups and educational classes.
During your cancer journey, you may want to see a healthcare specialist who is an expert in cancer survivorship. The OSUCCC – James has several disease-specific cancer survivorship clinics, including brain and neurologic cancers, breast cancer, survivors who’ve had a bone marrow transplant, gynecologic cancers, head and neck cancers, lung cancer, pancreatic cancer, and sarcoma. Ask your doctor or another member of your cancer care team how to make an appointment.
The OSUCCC – James also has a general survivorship clinic to address specific needs related to your cancer care. Available services include:
- Supportive counseling
- Expressive arts programs (art therapy, music therapy)
- Cancer risk assessment (genetics)
- Educational classes
- Financial counseling
- Integrative medicine (fitness, yoga, massage therapy)
- Neurology (nerve function)
- Nutrition counseling
- Physical therapy
- Spiritual counseling (chaplain/pastoral care)
- Support groups
- Symptom management
- Vocational rehabilitation/employment assistance
Survivorship Care Plan
When you are told that you have cancer, your healthcare team will share a lot of information with you. It may be hard to remember all the details about your cancer diagnosis, cancer treatments and the side effects that may result from your treatment. You may also have questions after your treatment ends about your follow-up care, who to call about a problem and how to manage changes caused by your cancer treatment.
To help you understand your cancer treatment and what you may need as a survivor, you will be given a care plan when your treatment is over. This care plan may include:
- The treatments and drugs you were given for your cancer
- How often you need to make an appointment with your cancer doctor
- The name of follow-up tests that you will need and how often the test should be done
- What doctor or other healthcare professional you should see for follow-up care
- Information about the chance of your cancer returning or being diagnosed with another type of cancer
- Signs or symptoms to watch for and who you should call if you see any changes
- Common long-term side effects that may result from your treatment
- How to maintain your health and well-being
- Support groups and survivorship programs
- Information about employment and health insurance
Survivorship care is an important part of your cancer journey. We are here to provide you with information as well as support and resources to meet your unique needs as a survivor.
- Maintain a healthy body weight. This is one of the most important ways to protect against cancer. It is best to avoid becoming overweight, but limiting any weight gain during adulthood is also very important.
- Make sure you get regular physical activity. Exercise for 30 to 60 minutes most days of the week. Brisk walking is an ideal exercise for most adults.
- Eat a healthy and balanced diet
- Eat five or more servings of fruits and vegetables each day.
- Eat minimally processed breads, cereals and grains.
- Red meat should be consumed in moderation and processed meats should be avoided.
- Limit consumption of high-calorie foods and sugary drinks.
- Use sodium (salt) in moderation.
- Do not use tobacco in any form. Smoking is dangerous to your health. Quitting will reduce your risk for heart disease, blood vessel disease, lung problems, cancer and stroke.
- Alcohol consumption is not recommended. Women should not have more than one drink a day and men should not have more than two drinks a day.
- Be cautious with dietary supplement use. Be sure to tell your healthcare team about any herbal, botanical or nutritional supplements you are taking.
- Protect yourself from skin damage:
- Apply sunscreen (Broad Spectrum SPF of 30) before going outside.
- Try to stay out of the sun between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., when the sun’s rays are the strongest.
- Wear protective, tightly woven clothing such as a long-sleeved shirt, pants and hat with a four-inch round brim. Protect your eyes with sunglasses.
- Do not use tanning beds or tanning salons.
- Talk to your doctor about taking calcium and vitamin D supplements to protect your bones (osteoporosis prevention).
- Wash your hands often with soap and warm water. If soap and warm water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.