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Topic of the Month: Cancer Survivorship

Topic of the Month: Cancer Survivorship

sur•vi•vor: from the moment of diagnosis through the balance of life, an individual diagnosed with cancer is a cancer survivor. Family members, friends, and caregivers are also impacted by the survivorship experience and are therefore included in this definition. *

*National Coalition for Cancer Survivorship

Cancer Connections — Saturday, July 13, 2013

At the Lurie Cancer Center, your treatment plan includes care for the mind, spirit and body. Cancer Connections is just what the doctor ordered, introducing tools, techniques, and services you can use to reenergize during and after cancer treatment. Plan to attend the upcoming Cancer Connections in July!

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Understanding Your Diagnosis

It is very important to understand the diagnosis you are receiving from your doctor or health care provider. Powerful emotions are a natural response to even a potential diagnosis of cancer, but getting the facts about your situation will help you make the right decisions in the days ahead.

If you are nervous or don’t think you’ll remember what you are being told, then bring someone with you, ask your doctor to write out the information you need, or take notes yourself. Included here are some of the questions you’ll want answered, to help you take charge of your health and medical care.

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Survivorship Care Plan Builder

Free software to help you create custom survivorship care plans based on ASCO treatment summary templates and surveillance guidelines. Version 4.0 now includes support for assessing and addressing psycho-social needs associated with cancer and its treatment, and a new lung cancer template.

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The Cancer Survival Toolbox

The award-winning Cancer Survival Toolbox® is a free, self-learning audio program that has been developed by leading cancer organizations to help people develop important skills to better meet and understand the challenges of their illness.

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National Cancer Legal Services Network

Over 1.6 million new cancers will be diagnosed in 2012. Economic and legal issues such as bankruptcy, lack of insurance, substandard housing, and unemployment can be both the consequence of and the devastating factors that undermine a fight against cancer. The National Cancer Legal Services Network is a unified voice of over 30 programs, seeking to promote access to healthcare and to increase the availability of legal services for people living with cancer.

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Late Effects

Many cancer survivors have a risk of developing late effects from cancer treatment. A late effect is a side effect that occurs more than five years after a diagnosis of cancer because of the related treatments, such as chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and surgery. When or if a person develops a late effect and the type of late effects that may develop vary from person to person. Treatment of late effects is an important part of cancer care because cancer survivors are living longer after cancer treatment than in the past.

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Survivors of childhood cancers face specific health risks as adults. Depending on the treatments they received, they could have a higher risk of certain other cancers, heart problems or decreased fertility. Even if their primary care physicians know their unique risks, they don't necessarily have the expertise to treat them. The STAR Program (Survivors Taking Action & Responsibility) at the Lurie Cancer Center has developed a patient education video series for childhood cancer patients and survivors on topics including, an overview of childhood cancer’s impact on adult survivors, transitioning to adult health care, cardiac risk factors , fertility,  and navigating the emotional side of survivorship. 

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Supportive Oncology Team at the Lurie Cancer Center

The strain of living with cancer can be overwhelming; many patients and their families need help coping with the various challenges. The Supportive Oncology Program provides emotional and practical support for patients and their families during all stages of treatment and recovery. read more

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