This past week, I had the opportunity to attend and speak at the 8th Biennial Cancer Survivorship Research Conference.
The theme for this year’s conference was Innovation in a Rapidly Changing Landscape. Each day was packed with presentations and key notes on survivorship topics. Over the course of the conference, three key themes emerged:
Survivorship Care Plans
Cancer survivors need coordinated, collaborative care from multiple healthcare providers. The lack of an integrated, coordinated survivorship care plan continues to be a weak link.
As a cancer survivor, do you have a survivorship care plan? Have you talked to your oncologist about how to manage your long term care? Do you have a primary care physician? These are important questions that were raised at this conference. As cancer survivors, we must be proactive in managing our long term care needs. If you don’t have a survivorship care plan, you can create your own on cancer.net or on livestrongcareplan.org. I’ll create my own and share with the community when I’m done!
Here are some more resources on the importance of care plans for cancer survivors:
– Sign up for the Cancer Survivorship Newsletter from ASCO.
– The Importance of Follow-up Care
Technology for Cancer Survivorship
Technology can enable cancer survivors find and connect with survivorship resources and help provide a framework for tracking care and overall wellness. The use of social media to share information with patient communities, apps to help track symptoms and wellness measures, and improvements in interoperability for healthcare data systems were discussed throughout the conference.
A promising use of technology to help the cancer survivor are apps that help track symptoms from long term hormonal therapies. Wellness apps and fitness trackers can help keep a cancer survivor focused on achieving weight loss goals and track exercise.
Financial Toxicity and the Cancer Survivor
Financial Toxicity and health literacy continue to be an on-going issue for cancer survivors. Did you know that 33% of #cancer survivors ages 18-64 experienced financial hardships? It’s difficult to image how many more cancer survivors deal with financial stress and underemployment after a diagnosis.
Here are some additional resources on this issue:
– The burden of cancer isn’t just cancer
– Financial Toxicity: Another hurdle in Cancer Treatment
The conversations were just a start. These issues need further exploration. As a community, #BCSM can begin to address these issues and provide concrete solutions for solving these challenges.
On June 20th, 2016, we’ll discuss these topics on the #BCSM Twitter chat. Join us to discuss these important topics. If you have questions or comments, let us know.