The National Cancer Institute (NCI) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say that there are nearly 12 million cancer survivors in the U.S. And the numbers are expected to climb as the population ages. That trend calls for better survivorship care, and City of Hope is answering the call.
Marcia Grant (Photo by Walter Urie)
City of Hope is teaming with Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center to train nurses in how to care for cancer survivors. The program will empower nurses to identify survivors’ needs and help patients and their families achieve the best possible quality of life after cancer.
“Nurses will be at the center of this care,” said Marcia Grant, R.N., D.N.Sc., director and professor of the Division of Nursing Research and Education at City of Hope. Grant is co-principal investigator with Mary McCabe, R.N., M.N., director of Memorial Sloan-Kettering’s Cancer Survivorship Program.
According to McCabe, nurses understand their important role. “They want and need education to give survivors the tools for a full life after cancer.”
The training will give nurses the tools to help survivors understand how to get the right care. They also will learn about available community resources that can improve survivors’ quality of care.
Workshops will focus on several key aspects of survivorship care including:
- Preventing new cancers through healthy lifestyles
- Determining when survivors should have tests such as colonoscopies and mammograms
- Following up on short- and long-term side effects that may arise
City of Hope currently provides survivorship programs for patients with prostate cancer and breast cancer, as well as for pediatric cancer patients. The experience has helped identify a need for increased focus on adult survivor care.
“Pediatric cancer patients are usually treated in cancer centers, but about 85 percent of adult patients are treated in the community,” Grant said. “Kids have been followed up for years, but that has not happened with adults. Given the expanding number of cancer survivors — especially during the past decade — patients should know what they need to do for prevention, surveillance and intervention.”
The program’s training workshops will take place once a year in Los Angeles and New York. They will include nurses from all cancer health-care settings, including physician practices, small community cancer clinics and NCI-designated cancer centers. The program will provide intensive, interactive education for 200 nurses over four years.
The next round of workshops takes place in April 2012 in Southern California. Nurses interested in applying may do so online. Registration ends Feb. 17, 2012.
Survivorship on the rise
With improvements in prevention, early diagnosis and treatment, cancer survivorship in the U.S. is up — and in a big way. The latest available figures show why addressing survivors’ needs is becoming increasingly important.
• Since 1971, the number of survivors has nearly quadrupled from about 3 million to 11.9 million in 2008.
• About 15 percent of today’s survivors have lived at least 20 years beyond their diagnoses.
• About 60 percent of survivors are at least 65 years of age.
• About two-thirds of adults diagnosed today will survive at least five years.
• About three-quarters of today’s childhood cancer survivors will live 10 years or more.
You can find more information on how to manage your care as a survivor in City of Hope’s patient and survivor newsletter, Restore.