Estimated as totaling more than 10 million adults in the U.S. alone, the number of cancer survivors is expected to grow as new advances in cancer screening and treatment diffuse into the community, and with aging of the population. In its recent report, The Institute of Medicine (IOM) noted that many cancer survivors become lost in the transition from cancer patient to cancer survivor. The report recommended recognizing cancer survivorship as a distinct phase of cancer care that deserves ongoing attention from cancer and other healthcare providers. A key component of follow-up care for cancer survivors is development of individualized survivorship care plans that empower survivors with knowledge about their cancer diagnosis and treatment, address the chronic effects of cancer and its therapy (e.g., pain, fatigue, premature menopause, depression/anxiety), provide monitoring recommendations to allow for early identification of treatment-related sequelae (e.g., osteoporosis, heart disease, and second malignancies), and promote health-protective behaviors.
The overall goal of the City of Hope Center for Cancer Survivorship will be to provide specialized long-term follow-up care for cancer survivors, and, in the process, develop a critical resource of research in cancer survivorship. Thus, the Center for Cancer Survivorship will provide unique, comprehensive follow-up care for cancer survivors in a clinical research setting.
The Center will support the following activities:
Clinical Care: Comprehensive long-term follow-up services for childhood cancer survivors, survivors of prostate cancer and other adult malignancies, and hematopoietic cell transplant survivors. Care will be provided as a consultative service in collaboration with the patient’s primary care provider and oncologist in order to ensure that the unique medical needs of cancer survivors are addressed. All patients will be offered the opportunity to participate in ongoing research studies through the Center.
Healthcare Professional Training: The Center will offer a structured training program in Cancer Survivorship for clinicians (physicians, nurse practitioners, physician assistants) and researchers (physicians, nurses, epidemiologists and others) planning careers in the cancer survivorship field.
Patient/Family/Community/Education: Health education personalized for each survivor based on his or her diagnosis, treatment and current medical condition will be provided during follow-up visits at the Center. In addition, the Center will host periodic educational seminars for survivors and their families, as well as educational outreach programs for the community.
Research: The Center for Cancer Survivorship will provide unique opportunities for collaborative clinical research across populations of survivors. Although research in childhood cancer survivors has provided much insight into the health-related outcomes after cancer, very little information is available regarding the health and well being of survivors of adult cancer. Multidisciplinary clinics for all cancer survivors, using a standardized follow-up protocol will help establish an invaluable resource (with the establishment of an extensive database) that will further the knowledge in cancer survivorship
The primary objective of the Center for Cancer Survivorship is to provide care to cancer survivors across the entire age spectrum and treated with all modalities (conventional chemotherapy, radiation therapy, surgery, and hematopoietic cell transplantation) to facilitate evaluation of health outcomes in this previously understudied patient population. This will help enhance our understanding of the chronic health conditions faced by this population and will provide assistance in tailoring the follow-up needs of those at risk of these complications. The ultimate goal of this Center is to improve the overall quality of life for the survivors.
The Cancer Center has committed resources for the development of the necessary infrastructure to establish multidisciplinary survivorship clinics and the development of clinical research protocols for collecting the necessary data.