What is a cancer survivorship clinic?

Sep 6 8:00am | Jennifer O'Hara | @jenohara | Comments (1)

Many institutions that provide cancer care also offer cancer survivorship clinics. These clinics focus on helping people with cancer manage the physical, emotional and social effects of cancer and cancer treatment, as well as improving the overall health and well-being of cancer survivors.

"Cancer survivorship visits can be very beneficial for the patients," says Dr. Meghna Ailawadhi, a Mayo Clinic general internist specializing in cancer survivorship. "They can provide a bridge between your primary care and your oncologist, and help patients sort out the posttreatment journey a little bit easier."

Cancer survivorship clinics may focus on a specific cancer type or a specific age group, such as children, adults, or adolescents and young adults (ages 15 to 39). Many different specialists may be involved, including medical oncologists; rehabilitation specialists; nutritionists; and other specialties, like cardiology and gastroenterology, if needed.

These clinics often help cancer survivors develop a survivorship care plan — a plan tailored to the individual survivor to make sure that person gets the most out of life after a cancer diagnosis. The care plan also can help inform the primary care physicians who care for these patients after active treatment is finished.

"A survivorship care plan entails the details of their treatment, the details of their cancer journey, their pathology reports, and what kind of treatment — radiation, chemotherapy — they have received," explains Dr. Ailawadhi. "And there's also an assessment and a care plan for the future of how often these patients need to have their surveillance scans, what labs to look for, what signs to look for. It also addresses some of their long-term needs if they are suffering from peripheral neuropathy, chronic diarrhea or other posttreatment effects. So it's an extremely useful document both for the patient and for their primary care providers."

On this Mayo Clinic Q&A podcast, Dr. Ailawadhi discusses Mayo Clinic’s cancer survivorship clinics, what services they offer, and how to find similar services in your area.

To practice safe social distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic, this interview was conducted using video conferencing. The sound and video quality are representative of the technology used. For the safety of its patients, staff and visitors, Mayo Clinic has strict masking policies in place. Anyone shown without a mask was recorded prior to COVID-19 or recorded in an area not designated for patient care, where social distancing and other safety protocols were followed.

Read the full transcript.

For more information and all your COVID-19 coverage, go to the Mayo Clinic News Network and mayoclinic.org.

Connect with others talking about cancer survivorship, and supporting one another in the Cancer: Managing Symptoms support group.

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Thank you for this helpful and informative podcast. I’m a cancer survivor and receive my cancer care at Mayo Clinic in Rochester. My GYNOncologist gave me my personal survival plan and I have continued to follow the plan. I have added other services too as recommended including the Mayo Menopause and Sexual Health Clinic, Integrative Health and Mental Health. I’m so thankful for all these departments that have helped me to live a good life as a cancer survivor.

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