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Cancer Survivorship: History, Quality-of-Life Issues, and the Evolving Multidisciplinary Approach to Implementation of Cancer Survivorship Care Plans

Mary Ann Morgan
ONF 2009, 36(4), 429-436 DOI: 10.1188/09.ONF.429-436

Purpose/Objectives: To discuss the history of cancer survivorship, related quality-of-life issues, and cancer survivorship care plans (CSCPs).

Data Sources: CINAHL®, PubMed, published articles, and Web sites.

Data Synthesis: A cancer survivor is an individual who has been diagnosed with cancer, regardless of when that diagnosis was received, who is still living. Cancer survivorship is complex and involves many aspects of care. Major areas of concern for survivors are recurrence, secondary malignancies, and long-term treatment sequelae that affect quality of life. Four essential components of survivorship care are prevention, surveillance, intervention, and coordination. A CSCP should address the survivor's long-term care, such as type of cancer, treatments received, potential side effects, and recommendations for follow-up. It should include preventive practices, how to maintain health and well-being, information on legal protections regarding employment and health insurance, and psychosocial services in the community.

Conclusions: Survivorship care for patients with cancer requires a multidisciplinary effort and team approach. Enhanced knowledge of long-term complications of survivorship is needed for healthcare providers. Further research on evidence-based practice for cancer survivorship care also is necessary.

Implications for Nursing: Nurses can review CSCPs with patients, instruct them when to seek treatment, promote recommended surveillance protocols, and encourage behaviors that lead to cancer prevention and promote well-being for cancer survivors.

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