Prostate Cancer Survivorship Program

Esther Chou, R.N., M.S.N.
The Department of Urology & Urologic Oncology
The Prostate Cancer Survivorship Program provides specialized follow-up care for patients who have completed surgical treatment for localized prostate cancer. Patients who participate in this program are seen every 6 to 12 months in a clinic specially designed to meet the follow-up needs of prostate cancer survivors. Care is provided by a healthcare provider with expertise in prostate cancer care and survivorship issues.  Patients in this program will receive careful monitoring for possible recurrence of their cancer and will have the opportunity to discuss their cancer treatment, its impact on their health, and ways to stay as healthy as possible.  Each patient will receive a Survivorship Care Plan – a personalized record of the details of their cancer treatment, with guidelines for continued monitoring, including recommendations for preventive care and information regarding available resources and services. The goal is to help each survivor stay as healthy as possible, and to prevent problems from happening or catch them early, when they are most easily treated. This program is carried out in collaboration with each patient’s primary treatment team and is part of the research program at City of Hope.
Highlights of the Prostate Cancer Survivorship Program include:
  • The Survivorship Care Plan – a personalized record of your cancer treatment and recommendations for ongoing health monitoring
  • Follow-up assessments for cancer recurrence
  • Evaluation for any long-term complications of treatment
  • Education about methods to prevent new health problems and to stay as healthy as possible
  • Screening recommendations for other cancers (such as colon cancer), according to national guidelines
  • An emphasis on healthy lifestyle practices
  • Referrals to specialists, resources, or services as needed
  • Communication with your primary healthcare provider and treatment team
Who is eligible for this program?
The following criteria must be met to be eligible for the program: -- A history of localized prostate cancer diagnosed at age 22 or older -- At least one year since diagnosis -- Received surgical treatment at City of Hope -- No current evidence of prostate cancer, or if present, the prostate cancer is in a state of stable disease -- No history of prostate cancer recurrence, progression, or metastasis (spread outside the area of the prostate gland)
Who will I see in the clinic?
Care is provided by a healthcare provider with expertise in prostate cancer care and survivorship issues, who works in collaboration with your primary treatment team and will communicate with your physician if any problems are detected. In addition, referrals are available to the social worker, dietitian, psychologist, physical therapist, or other specialists or services as needed based on your individual circumstances.
What happens at the clinic visit?
You will be seen in the long-term follow-up clinic every 6 months for the first five years after diagnosis, and then yearly thereafter. During each visit, your medical history and any symptoms you are having will be reviewed and you will undergo a physical examination and have a PSA blood test. Digital rectal examinations will be done yearly. Additional testing or referrals may be recommended, if needed, based on the results of your health history and physical examination. You will have the opportunity to discuss your diagnosis, treatment history, and ways to stay as healthy as possible. You will receive a Survivorship Care Plan that includes a written record of your cancer treatment with follow-up recommendations based on your treatment history and specific circumstances. If needed, you will also receive additional information about any treatment-related health problem(s) that you may have, along with recommendations for management of these problems. A summary of each long-term follow-up visit will be sent to your primary healthcare provider and to your primary treatment team, at your request.
What part of this program is research?
You will be asked to complete several questionnaires as part of the research related to this program. These questionnaires include assessment of symptoms that some men may experience as a result of prostate cancer treatment (such as problems with urinary, bowel, or sexual function). Additional questions are asked about your health status, family history, general health, health habits (such as smoking), and general demographic information (such as race and employment). In addition to using this information in research, your answers to many of these questions will be used by the healthcare provider to assist in determining your general state of health.
How is the information about me used in research?
Following your visit, the information you provide in the questionnaires, and the results of your clinic visit (such as PSA level and physical exam findings) will be recorded in a research database. The database is password protected and secure, and is accessible only to personnel directly involved with this study. Information entered into the database will eventually be grouped together with information for other patients enrolled in this study and analyzed, so that any significant findings can be reported to the medical community. Individual patient information will not be identified in any of these reports, and any personal information (such as name or date of birth) will be removed before any of this information is released, published or presented at scientific meetings.
Can I receive all of my medical care in the Survivorship Program?
No, the Survivorship Program does not provide primary medical care. Each patient must have their own primary healthcare provider (internist, family physician, nurse practitioner or physician assistant) who is available for day-to-day health care needs. The Survivorship Program team is available for telephone consultation with the primary care provider when needed.
Is there a charge for participating in this program?
Costs for the clinic visits, PSA lab tests, and any recommended referrals or additional tests that are medically indicated based on your health evaluation are considered standard medical care and will be billed to you or your insurance company according to the usual and customary charges. There are no costs associated with the research questionnaires related to this study.
How do I find out more information or find out if I am eligible?
For more information, or to determine if you are eligible for the Prostate Cancer Survivorship Program, please contact Claudia Herrera at 626-471-9221 or email: