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ASCO Booklet Helps Cancer Survivors Transition to Life after Treatment


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With more patients surviving cancer than ever before, the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) released a new publication to help patients adjust to life after active cancer treatment. The free booklet, based on oncologist-approved content from ASCO’s patient information website, Cancer.Net, helps people understand what to expect as treatment is completed, explains common challenges faced by survivors, and offers suggestions for next steps following treatment.

“The period following active cancer treatment is full of questions for our patients,” said Melissa Hudson, MD, chair of ASCO’s Survivorship Committee and Cancer.Net associate editor. “It is one of the most complex aspects of the cancer experience because it is different for every person. It is important for patients to be well-informed about the challenges they may face as they transition back to their everyday lives and work to regain their health and quality of life. As an oncologist, I see ASCO’s new survivorship booklet as a great, concise resource we can offer patients as they near the end of treatment.”

“This booklet is designed to be a starting point for ongoing discussions between patients and their health care teams about how to cope with physical, emotional, and social changes, focusing on the person’s long-term health,” said Diane Blum, MSW, editor-in-chief of Cancer.Net. “This easy-to-read booklet provides useful and reliable information on the transition to survivorship, to help people get answers to such questions as what symptoms they should watch for, who will lead their ongoing care, and why it’s important to return for check-ups.”

Progress in cancer research has helped save or extend the lives of millions of people. Thanks to advances in medical research, there are about 12 million cancer survivors today in the United States. About 68 percent of people diagnosed with cancer today are expected to live at least five years beyond their diagnosis. And, approximately 15 percent of all cancer survivors were diagnosed more than 20 years ago.

Despite these important gains, cancer survivors still face a range of long-term challenges from their disease and its treatment. A recent survey found that 93 percent of survivors report emotional issues following treatment including anxiety over potential recurrence, depression and grief. Another study of adults who had been diagnosed with certain cancers before age 21 and who survived at least 5 years after diagnosis found that 62 percent of those between the ages of 18 and 48 had at least one chronic health condition.

ASCO’s booklet provides a valuable resource to this unique population, covering such topics as:

  • Common survivorship challenges and coping strategies
  • Keeping a personal health record
  • The importance of follow-up care
  • Managing long-term side and late effects
  • Helpful questions to ask about their survivorship care
  • Glossary of survivorship terms as well as a list of resources <.li>

This free booklet, entitled Cancer Survivorship: Next Steps for Patients and Their Families, is available to download at cancer.net/survivorship. Print copies can be ordered by calling ASCO University’s Bookstore at 888-273-3508 or visiting cancer.net/estore.

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