The National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) has completed its development of new Survivorship Guidelines. These guidelines will be regularly updated as new information is learned about long-term side effects and late effects from cancer treatment. Given that there are new drugs, and even new drug categories being developed constantly, this will be an ever-changing set of guidelines.
Something that has become clear in recent years is that we need to begin looking at cancer survivors as individuals who have, or will develop, chronic illnesses and disorders as a result of having had cancer treatment. This means that PCPs need continual education so that they can manage these long-term and/or late effects from treatment. Gone is the day that the goal of treatment was for the patient to survive their diagnosis and treatment. Instead, today, the guidelines include preserving the patient’s life goals that lie ahead of them, whether they are a year from now or 15 years from now, preserving their quality of life during and after treatment, and minimizing long-term effects and late effects caused by their cancer treatments. Survivorship should be a period in the patient’s life that is filled with joy, rather than feeling like it is a punishment to have become a survivor.
Share these new guidelines with your coworkers and consider having them discussed and reviewed at an upcoming Tumor Board meeting at your cancer facility.