Finding meaning in the cancer experience and learning to appreciate everyday life in a new way is commonly reported among cancer survivors. Yet, the experience of the diagnosis and treatment can produce long-lasting physical and psychological effects for patients and their families. Although they are relieved to have completed treatment, anxiety and uncertainty often increase as they leave the health care team and the supportive treatment environment. They may not know what to expect or how to begin to return to life after treatment.
Cancer patients and their families need to be empowered to make effective choices after treatment has been completed. With the passage of time, the needs of people who have had cancer change, with some requiring few services, while others need many resources to help them.
The Treatment/Survivorship Committee considered the following information when setting its goals and objectives:
- Rising Number of Survivors
- The number of cancer survivors in the U.S. today is approaching 11 million and is growing at a rate of about 3% per year.
- Although the majority of survivors successfully adapt to gradual physical and psychological recovery during the first year after treatment ends, about 20-25% report depressive symptoms.
- Changes in Connecticut’s Population
- Resources for supportive interventions may be limited in ambulatory care settings, where most survivors receive their treatment and care.
- National Guidelines
- The few national guidelines for follow-up that do exist are not well known or used by the average practitioner.
- There is often a lack of continuity of care for survivors across and within specialty care practices.
The survivorship goal for the 2014-2017 Connecticut Cancer Plan is: High quality of life and care is available and accessible to all Connecticut cancer survivors. Click on the link below to access the Survivorship goal of the Connecticut Cancer Plan.