Long-term Cancer Survivorship: More Resources Are Now Available

May 27, 2009

The Institute of Medicine identified the need to educate and provide follow-up care to the 12 million long-term cancer survivors in the United States.

The Institute of Medicine has identified the need to educate and provide follow-up care to the 12 million long-term cancer survivors in the United States. In response, a number of programs and services were initiated, including an online cancer survivorship care plan tool developed by the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine.

The easy-to-use tool, called OncoLife, is a collection of care plans that are available in English and Spanish via OncoLink, an online cancer information resource. By inputting information about their cancer treatments, patients are able to create an individualized survivorship plan that includes ways to reduce and monitor for the long-term effects of cancer treatment and recommendations for future cancer screening.

Researchers surveyed 3,343 people who created OncoLife care plans in 2007-2008. Cancer survivors comprised 62% of OncoLife users (the remainder were family, friends, and healthcare providers) and when surveyed, 97% reported finding the information on the OncoLife site to be helpful. The site also includes a link to scientific references that were used to develop OncoLife recommendations.

Oncology healthcare providers need to be aware of the OncoLife survivorship care plan and spread the word about it. OncoLife can be accessed at www.oncolink.org/oncolife.