Cancer survivorship has three distinct phases: living through, living with and living beyond cancer.
Phase 1 – Living with cancer refers to the experience of receiving a cancer diagnosis and any treatment that my follow. During this time:
- Patients will undergo treatment and may be asked to join a clinical trial to study new cancer therapies.
- Patients and their caregivers may be offered services to help cope with emotional, psychological and financial concerns.
Phase 2 – Living through cancer is the period following treatment in which the risk of cancer recurring is relatively high. Many patients are relieved that treatment is over, but anxious about no longer seeing their oncologist on a regular basis. During this stage:
- Patients typically see their oncologist two to four times a year depending on their individual circumstance.
Phase 3 – Living beyond cancer refers to post-treatment and long-term survivorship. While two out of three survivors say their lives return to normal, one-third report continuing physical, psycho-social or financial consequences. During this stage:
- Most survivors return to the care of their primary physician.
- Ideally, survivors will have developed their long-term health.
The Cancer Survivorship Program at NMCC includes clinic visits with physicians, nurse practitioners and physician assistants whose expertise includes cancer care and the specific issues survivors may face after treatment.