The University Gazette published a feature article this week on professor Deborah Mayer, PhD, RN, AOCN, FAAN. The story highlights a streamlined survivorship care plan that Dr. Mayer and her colleagues released in October.
Thanks to new technology, health care providers have gotten better at detecting cancer early and making sure people get the treatment they need. Yet with more cancer survivors than ever, health care providers now have to be more thoughtful about the care they provide after cancer treatment.
“Now we know there needs to be surveillance for the cancer coming back and surveillance for side effects and late effects of treatment,” Dr. Mayer told the Gazette. “Anything strong enough to treat a cancer is going to have some residual effects for many people. At least a third (of cancer patients) can experience significant long-term late effects.”
Survivorship care plans help providers keep track of cancer survivors’ care needs. Thanks to a work group from the American Society of Clinical Oncology, which Dr. Mayer chaired, there is now a simple, one page form that makes survivorship care plans even easier to administer.
Dr. Mayer also spoke with the Gazette about her efforts to improve communication between oncology staff, patients, and primary care providers. Patients often have needs, such as knowing how a treatment might impact their job, that medical professionals don’t always consider, and Dr. Meyer said it is important to mentor the next generation of health professionals so they are more aware of the patient perspective on treatment.