Improvements in the early detection of cancer and the effectiveness of cancer treatment have resulted in more people living longer after being diagnosed with the disease. There are currently more than 10 million cancer survivors living in the U.S. The number of survivors will only grow as the population ages and enhancements progress against the disease.
A cancer diagnosis remains a life-changing event for individuals and their family members, friends and caregivers. Individuals who have been diagnosed with cancer face a host of short- and long-term issues affecting their quality of life, including the physical effects of cancer treatment, spiritual and emotional needs, pain control, and more.
The Minnesota Cancer Alliance convened the Quality of Life Task Force in late 2007 to address these pressing quality of life and survivorship issues. Two project teams have formed to address issues of interest.
The first project team is examining the benefits of physical fitness on survival rates along with back-to-work/school/life issues after treatment. Led by Wendy Rahn of Survivors’ Training, this team is especially interested in addressing the benefits of physical fitness and nutrition on survivorship, rural access to care issues, and education to health care professionals.
The second project team aims to improve continuity of care through the use of survivor care plans. Survivor care plans are tools used to communicate information from the oncologist to the patient and primary care physician regarding diagnosis, treatment and follow-up care. This team is currently assessing the types of survivor care plans being utilized throughout the state, and plans to create a list of recommended elements to include in a plan, along with a suggested template. Furthermore, the team plans to help integrate the use of these plans into standard practice for every cancer survivor.
For information on the above project teams, contact Anna Ourada at (800) 582-5152 or firstname.lastname@example.org.