What is Cancer Survivorship?
Survivorship is a term used in the cancer world that means the health and well-being of a person with cancer, from diagnosis until the end of life. Most of this website is focused on helping you successfully navigate melanoma diagnosis and treatment—the first phase of survivorship. But once you are finished with treatment, your care, surveillance, and follow-up are no less important. For the rest of your life, you will have unique health and wellness needs. This section of the website focuses on helping you successfully navigate the second phase of survivorship—post-treatment.
Developing a Melanoma Survivorship Care Plan
Survivorship care plans are an important component of follow up care. A survivorship care plan helps you make the transition from patient to everyday life. Your oncologist and health care team can work with you to develop a melanoma survivorship care plan specifically tailored to your needs. This plan will summarize your melanoma treatment(s), list your surveillance and other follow up test recommendations, and outline potential long-term side effects you may experience. The plan is for you to refer to, but also for you to give to any new physician you might see.
A melanoma survivorship plan includes resources that can help you:
- Cope with long-term physical and emotional effects from treatment
- Manage your risk for recurrence or a second melanoma
- Address social and financial concerns
- Find support and community resources
- Improve your quality of life
- The American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) provides oncologist-approved cancer information. The Survivorship Tab has several links discussing issues related to life after cancer and a survivorship care plan that you can print and bring to your oncologist for him/her to complete.
- The Cancer Survival Toolbox is a free, award-winning audio program that teaches skills that can help people with cancer meet the challenges of their illness. See especially the Living Beyond Cancer section, for skills to help you adapt to life after cancer.
- The National Cancer Institute has created a web portal for adolescents and young adults (AYA) with cancer, and those who care about them. The portal has materials and resources on AYA cancer, clinical trials, and organizations working in this area.
- National Coalition for Cancer Survivorship (NCCS) is a survivor-led cancer advocacy organization, advocating for quality cancer care for all Americans and empowering cancer survivors.
- Survivorship A-Z provides resources for people living with cancer. Topics include Insurance, Finances, Work Issues, Planning Ahead, Day to Day Living, and Emotional Well Being.