Your Survivorship Plan
Key Components of a Healthy Survivorship
If you are a cancer survivor, or are living with cancer, you know your world has changed dramatically. Please go easy on yourself, and don’t be afraid to ask for help from your family, friends, and caregivers. And remember that the St. Luke’s MSTI Survivorship team is here for you, every step of the way.
Treatment Summary and Care Plan
This important document will summarize your medical treatment and history, communicate your plan of care to your other physicians and your family, and provide information for future surveillance and risk. This document includes:
- Contact information so you know how to obtain additional information
- Drug names and dosage
- Radiation dosage: Your total dose of radiation may affect long-term risk and ability to treat the same area again.
- Long-term or late effects
As a cancer survivor, you need each of your doctors to have a complete picture of your medical journey so they can work together with you to achieve your best health. Coordination among your caregivers also minimizes overlap and duplication of services, and reduces the risk that you will “fall through the cracks.”
It’s also important that you know which doctor or other health care provider is responsible for each area of your follow-up care. You need to know which doctors order which tests, and who to call when you have questions.
Wellness and Prevention
There is new and growing evidence that good nutrition, healthy weight, and a physically active lifestyle dramatically reduce a survivor’s risk of recurrence or second cancer. St. Luke’s MSTI dietitians are available to discuss this with you.
Many patients experience long term physical effects from cancer and its treatment. These side effects can include ongoing fatigue, numbness and tingling in the hands and feet, changes in weight, changes in heart function, hormonal changes, changes in sexual function, and increase risk of future cancer. If you need help, talk with your doctor or St. Luke’s MSTI Survivorship staff.
One of the most common concerns for patients after treatment is fear of recurrence. The cancer diagnosis and experience of treatment can cause many patients to feel anxious or depressed. Some struggle to cope with the stressors and uncertainty that come after treatment is over. If you need help, talk with your doctor or St. Luke’s MSTI Survivorship staff.
Many patients struggle to find employment and health insurance after treatment. Many are left with mounting medical bills, and wonder how to pay them. Our patient financial advocates are a great resource, and are available to meet with you. It’s also common for survivors to begin thinking about advanced care planning after a cancer diagnosis, and to have questions about living wills, medical decision-making, and long-term care insurance. For information and forms, talk with St. Luke’s MSTI Survivorship staff.
Social Roles and Responsibilities
Finding a balance between work, family, patient, and caregiver can feel overwhelming for patients when they finish treatment. Some new survivors struggle with how to get back to “normal.” We often talk with survivors about a “new normal” and the opportunity to redefine what is truly important to them, and we would be happy to talk with you.
Contact: Alicia Rosales, LCSW, OSW-C, Survivorship Program Navigator
(208) 706-7286 or firstname.lastname@example.org