Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Cancer survivors require distinct care

08.11.2005


Tailored follow-up plans, new clinical guidelines are needed



Citing shortfalls in the care currently provided to the country’s 10 million cancer survivors, a new report recommends that each cancer patient receive a "survivorship care plan." The report, by the Institute of Medicine and National Research Council of the National Academies, says such plans should summarize information critical to the individual’s long-term care, such as the cancer diagnosis, treatment, and potential consequences; the timing and content of follow-up visits; tips on maintaining a healthy lifestyle and preventing recurrent or new cancers; legal rights affecting employment and insurance; and the availability of psychological and support services. The committee that wrote the report also called for new evidence-based clinical guidelines and standards to assure the quality of care given to cancer survivors, as well as for better coordination between specialists and primary care providers.

"There is currently no organized system to link oncology care to primary care," said committee chair Sheldon Greenfield, professor of medicine and director of the Center for Health Policy Research, University of California, Irvine. "Successful cancer care doesn’t end when patients walk out the door after completion of their initial treatments."


In the United States, half of all men and one-third of all women will develop cancer in their lifetimes. Advances in the detection and treatment of cancer, combined with an aging population, mean greater numbers of cancer survivors in the near future, the report notes. Despite the increase in survivors, however, primary care physicians and other health care providers often are not extremely familiar with the consequences of cancer, and seldom receive explicit guidance from oncologists, the committee found. Furthermore, the lack of clear evidence for what constitutes best practices in caring for patients with a history of cancer contributes to wide variation in care.

Besides being at risk for cancer recurrence and for developing other cancers, survivors also may face psychological distress, sexual dysfunction, infertility, impaired organ function, cosmetic changes, and limitations in mobility, communication, and cognition. Some of this is due to the fact that most cancer treatments -- including surgery, chemotherapy, hormone therapy, and radiation therapy -- can have long-term effects on tissues and organ systems.

"Unfortunately, many critical aspects of cancer survivors’ needs are lost somewhere between active treatment and long-term follow-up, which is why we call for every patient to be given a summary of their cancer treatment and a description of follow-up care needed," said committee vice chair Ellen Stovall, a 34-year cancer survivor and president of the National Coalition for Cancer Survivorship. Such plans should be written by oncology providers and thoroughly discussed with patients, and the cost should be covered by insurers. The concept of a cancer survivorship plan was previously suggested by the President’s Cancer Panel.

For survivorship plans to be carried out successfully, an organized set of clinical practice guidelines based on the best available evidence is needed, the report adds. Innovative models also should be developed to coordinate the care provided by oncologists, primary care doctors, nurses, social workers, psychologists, and others involved in addressing the myriad problems faced by cancer survivors. The committee said that the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services is in the best position to test the merits of various models of care through pilot programs funded by Congress. Both public and private support will be needed to develop new clinical guidelines and to monitor their impact.

Quality-of-care measures also are needed for cancer survivors, the report adds. Some measures -- such as annual mammograms for breast cancer survivors -- already exist, while others could be established based on available evidence, the committee said. For example, patients treated with certain chemotherapies should be monitored for heart conditions, and some individuals treated with radiotherapy need to be checked for thyroid conditions. Quality assurance programs to monitor and improve cancer survivors’ care should be set up as well.

The committee recommended that medical education and professional training curricula include more instruction about cancer survivors’ particular care needs. Expanded research – including long-term population studies -- also is needed to fill gaps in understanding of the effects experienced by cancer survivors later in life. Steps also should be taken to prevent discrimination against cancer survivors in the workplace and to ensure they have affordable health insurance and are reimbursed for evidence-based care. In addition, the committee called on health care providers and patient advocates to raise public awareness of the needs of cancer survivors and to establish cancer survivorship as a distinct phase of cancer care.

Christine Stencel | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.nas.edu
http://www.nap.edu
http://national-academies.org

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Millions through license revenues
27.04.2017 | Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn

nachricht New High-Performance Center Translational Medical Engineering
26.04.2017 | Fraunhofer ITEM

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Making lightweight construction suitable for series production

More and more automobile companies are focusing on body parts made of carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP). However, manufacturing and repair costs must be further reduced in order to make CFRP more economical in use. Together with the Volkswagen AG and five other partners in the project HolQueSt 3D, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) has developed laser processes for the automatic trimming, drilling and repair of three-dimensional components.

Automated manufacturing processes are the basis for ultimately establishing the series production of CFRP components. In the project HolQueSt 3D, the LZH has...

Im Focus: Wonder material? Novel nanotube structure strengthens thin films for flexible electronics

Reflecting the structure of composites found in nature and the ancient world, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have synthesized thin carbon nanotube (CNT) textiles that exhibit both high electrical conductivity and a level of toughness that is about fifty times higher than copper films, currently used in electronics.

"The structural robustness of thin metal films has significant importance for the reliable operation of smart skin and flexible electronics including...

Im Focus: Deep inside Galaxy M87

The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.

Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...

Im Focus: A Quantum Low Pass for Photons

Physicists in Garching observe novel quantum effect that limits the number of emitted photons.

The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...

Im Focus: Microprocessors based on a layer of just three atoms

Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.

Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Expert meeting “Health Business Connect” will connect international medical technology companies

20.04.2017 | Event News

Wenn der Computer das Gehirn austrickst

18.04.2017 | Event News

7th International Conference on Crystalline Silicon Photovoltaics in Freiburg on April 3-5, 2017

03.04.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Bare bones: Making bones transparent

27.04.2017 | Life Sciences

Study offers new theoretical approach to describing non-equilibrium phase transitions

27.04.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

From volcano's slope, NASA instrument looks sky high and to the future

27.04.2017 | Earth Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>