Tools for Health Care Professionals
One way to help make sure you and your patient understand each other is by using cancer care plans. Cancer care plans make sure you and your patients know where they are going and how to get there. This roadmap should be discussed with other members of the patients’ health care team and shared with other health professionals involved in their care, such as primary care doctors, radiologists, and surgeons. Cancer care plans are useful whether someone is newly diagnosed, making the transition from active treatment, or changing the course of treatment. Source: NCCS
Cancer care plans should have three parts:
1. Treatment Care Plan
This plan should be discussed before beginning treatment and can help guide patients as they talk with doctors and other members of the health care team about what is important to them and any concerns they may have. It will help when talking about treatment options and possible side effects. The treatment plan can be shared with other doctors patients might see for cancer treatment or for any other health care needs.
2. Treatment Summary
The treatment summary should be provided once your patient transitions from active treatment and can be shared with other doctors and health care providers. It provides a list of medicines the patient is taking, describes any ongoing issues that need to be addressed, and describes the cancer care he or she has received.
3. Follow-up Survivorship Care Plan
This plan will help map out your patients' follow-up care upon the completion of treatment. Cancer survivors need to be monitored for the rest of their lives and have different health care needs than before they were diagnosed. The Follow-Up Survivorship Care Plan helps to ensure that everyone involved in the patient’s care knows what follow-up is needed when it is needed, and who he or she should see for that care.
Obesity & Wellness
Obesity, poor nutrition, and physical inactivity contribute to about 40% of cancer cases in the United States and can negatively affect cancer treatment and survival. We offer tips for helping cancer survivors improve their health. View information on caring for cancer survivors with obesity.
Talking with survivors about the risks of tobacco use after a cancer diagnosis may help them quit. View information on caring for cancer survivors who use tobacco.
Mental Health & Provider Education
As many as three out of every four cancer survivors experience symptoms of psychological distress or cognitive concerns, which can negatively affect their overall well-being and health outcomes.View this interactive experience to practice talking with survivors about their mental health.
1. Talk with survivors about the role of risk behaviors in disease prevention and survivorship, such as smoking, alcohol misuse, and insufficient sleep.
2. Counsel survivors on nutrition and physical activity recommendations.
3. Help survivors get to and maintain a healthy weight by encouraging energy balance through increased physical activity, improved diet quality (such as fruits and vegetables), and limited intake of sugar-sweetened foods and beverages.
4. Identify and address long-term and late effects of cancer and its treatment on survivors’ physical and psychosocial well-being as part of recommended distress screening, when indicated.
5. Provide coordinated care, behavioral counseling interventions, and referrals to behavioral counseling services, when indicated.
6. Ensure that weight management, tobacco cessation, and behavioral counseling services are outlined as part of a survivorship care plan, when indicated.
Resources to help with implementing the American Cancer Society cancer survivorship care guidelines.
Learn about the role of clinical generalists and specialists in providing follow-up care to cancer survivors.
The GW Cancer Center offers numerous training and education opportunities for health care professionals and often include continuing education credits at no cost.