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DMH Introduces Cancer Survivorship

While DMH offers state-of-the art cancer treatment, prevention services, and access to clinical trials; we also know that cancer patients and their families can benefit from post-treatment services. Cancer and its treatment can have everlasting effects on physical, psychological, social, and spiritual well-being.

To help cancer patients and their families move beyond treatment, DMH created a survivorship program. This pro-gram facilitates a positive transition from the end of active cancer care to optimal wellness after treatment.

Thanks to advancements in medical research, the effectiveness of cancer treatment continues to improve. As a result, the number of cancer survivors is growing steadily each year, according to the American Cancer Society. Currently there are more than 13.7 million cancer survivors in the United States, and that number is projected to grow to approximately 18 million by 2022. Therefore, supporting survivors’ overall quality of life after treatment has be-come a very important aspect of cancer care.

What is a Survivorship Care Plan?

A Survivorship Care Plan is a cancer treatment summary and a follow-up care plan that patients can receive after their cancer treatment is completed. A survivorship plan consists of:

  • Contact information of patient’s care team
  • A summary of diagnosis and treatment
  • Information on follow-up care, managing side effects, screening and surveillance
  • Distress assessment of concerns and suggested interventions
  • Education and support: support groups, wellness programs, dietary services, and rehabilitation services

Who coordinates a Survivorship Care Plan?

The Radiation Oncology nurses and the Breast Cancer Navigators serves as our Survivorship Coordinators. The goal of the Survivorship Program is to develop and deliver a detailed effective and meaningful care plan to each survivor.

Currently a select number of eligible patients who have completed their cancer treatments have the opportunity to meet with a Survivorship nurse and receive a Survivorship Care Plan.

After the nurse meets with the patient to review the Survivorship Care Plan (SCP), a copy is provided to the patient and they are encouraged to share the SCP with their primary care provider and other specialists.

Why is Survivorship Important?

A cancer diagnosis can cause physical , emotional and spiritual distress. In addition to finding the best cancer treatment, emotional needs are of equal importance. Patients and families may experience an array of emotions ranging from fear, anger, depression, fatigue, and a sense of extreme loss. Often times these emotions can impact a patient’s ability to cope with the demands of daily living. When that happens, it is important to have resources available to help patients regain balance and strength for the journey ahead.

Supportive service interventions offered through the Survivorship program can improve the psychological well being and quality of life of individuals affected by cancer. Meeting survivors’ post-treatment care needs helps promote positive, long-term outcomes.

Patients who complete treatment will also receive a Survivorship guide book to better understand how to manage their future healthcare and rebuild their life after cancer. The guide provides resources to help patients transition after treatment, information about coping with challenges, descriptions of rehabilitation and supportive services.
Active patient and caregiver participation in a Survivorship Care Plan can reduce survivor’s post-treatment anxiety and enhance quality of life.

DMH provides Cancer Survivorship Guides

Patients who complete treatment may receive a Survivorship Guide – “Understanding how to manage your future healthcare and rebuild your life after cancer”. The handbook provides resources to help patients transition after treatment, information about coping with challenges, descriptions of rehabilitation and supportive services.

By encouraging active patient and caregiver participation in a Survivorship Care Plan, post-treatment anxiety may be reduced and quality of life may be enhanced for Decatur Memorial Hospital’s cancer survivors.

Survivorship Resources

DMH Survivorship Program

Survivorship Program Brochure

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