After cancer treatment, you may have a lot of questions about your future. Now that treatment is over, what is next? What are the chances that cancer may recur? What can you do to stay healthy?
A cancer survivorship care plan can help you feel more in control after treatment. Learn what a care plan is, why you may want one, and how to get one.
What Is a Cancer Survivorship Care Plan?
A cancer survivorship care plan is a document that records information about your cancer experience. It also includes details about your current health. It can include information on:
Your cancer history:
- Your diagnosis
- The names of your health care providers and the facilities where you received treatment
- Results of all your cancer tests and treatments
- Information on any clinical trials you took part in
Your ongoing care after cancer treatment:
- Types and dates of doctor visits you will have
- Follow-up screenings and tests you will need
- Recommendations for genetic counseling, if needed
- Symptoms or side effects you have had since your cancer treatment ended and what to expect
- Ways to care for yourself, such as through diet, exercise habits, counseling, or stopping smoking
- Information about your legal rights as a cancer survivor
- The risks of recurrence and symptoms to watch for in case your cancer returns
Why Do You Need a Cancer Survivorship Care Plan?
A cancer survivorship care plan serves as a complete record of your cancer experience. It helps you keep all of that information in one place. If you or your provider need details about your cancer history, you know just where to find them. This can be helpful for your ongoing health care. And if your cancer returns, you and your provider can easily access information that could help in planning your future treatment.
How Do I Create a Cancer Survivorship Care Plan?
You may be given a care plan once your treatment ends. You may want to ask your doctor about it to make sure you receive one.
There are also templates online you and your provider can use to create one:
- American Society of Clinical Oncology -- www.cancer.net/survivorship/follow-care-after-cancer-treatment/asco-cancer-treatment-summaries
- American Cancer Society -- www.cancer.org/treatment/survivorshipduringandaftertreatment/survivorshipcareplans/index
Make sure you and your providers keep your cancer survivorship care plan up-to-date. When you have new tests or symptoms, record them in your care plan. This will ensure you have the most current information about your health and treatment. Be sure to bring your cancer survivorship care plan to all of your doctor visits.
American Society of Clinical Oncology. Survivorship. Cancer.net. Updated July 2016. www.cancer.net/survivorship. Accessed October 27, 2016.
Forsythe LP, Kent EE, Rowland JH. Survivorship. In: Niederhuber JE, Armitage JO, Doroshow JH, Kastan MB, Tepper JE, eds. Abeloff's Clinical Oncology. 5th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2014:chap 56.
National Cancer Institute. Survivorship: During and after treatment. www.cancer.org/treatment/survivorshipduringandaftertreatment/index. Accessed October 27, 2016.
Review Date 8/22/2016
Updated by: Laura J. Martin, MD, MPH, ABIM Board Certified in Internal Medicine and Hospice and Palliative Medicine, Atlanta, GA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.