"An individual is considered a cancer survivor from the time of diagnosis, through the balance of his or her life. Family members, friends, and caregivers are also impacted by the survivorship experience and are therefore included in this definition."
- National Cancer Institute (NCI) Office of Cancer Survivorship (adapted from the National Coalition for Cancer Survivorship)
In 2006 the Institute of Medicine (IOM) influential report From Cancer Patient to Cancer Survivor: Lost in Transition focused attention on unmet needs of the nation's growing population of cancer survivors. Included in the report's call to action was the recommendation "that each cancer patient receive a 'survivorship care plan.' "
Since the report's publication, the population of cancer survivors in the U.S. has grown from 10 million to nearly 17 million. This number is expected to reach 22.1 million by 2030.1
In late 2019, the American College of Surgeons Commission on Cancer (CoC) released Optimal Resources for Cancer Care: 2020 Standards for cancer program accreditation. The newly revised standards went into effect in January 2020; however, many of the new standards are phased in, including Standard 4.8 Survivorship Program.2 This standard requires that the cancer program's cancer committee "oversee the development and implementation of a survivorship program directed at meeting the needs of cancer patients treated with curative intent." With this phased-in standard, the CoC calls for a coordinator of the survivorship program (Standard 2.1), and the development of a survivorship program team composed of multidisciplinary cancer care professionals (e.g., physicians, nurses, advanced practice providers, social workers, nutritionists, physical therapists, and other allied health professionals). This team is responsible for determining the services and programs - available on-site or by referral - required to meet the needs of cancer survivors. The CoC includes survivorship care plans as among the services a survivorship program may choose to include.
Although many cancer programs and practices have initiated integration of survivorship care plans into the continuum of care, multiple facets of the current healthcare delivery system can make the process of developing and delivering these plans an ongoing challenge.
Despite obstacles, survivorship care remains an important area of ongoing discussion not only because the population of survivors continues to grow, but also new treatment paradigms are emerging, requiring fresh perspectives on the post-treatment needs of patients. In 2018, the National Academy of Medicine (formerly the Institute of Medicine) published proceedings from its workshop on Long-Term Survivorship Care After Cancer Treatment.
ACCC is pleased to offer a resource that explores the new frontier of Survivorship Care Plans for Patients Receiving Immunotherapy. The publication describes processes for developing survivorship care plans (SCPs) for patients treated with immunotherapy, effective practices in SCP design, and considerations for SCP delivery for this patient population.
In 2007-2008 ACCC conducted an educational initiative to raise awareness about the importance of comprehensive survivorship programs. ACCC President (2007-2008) Richard B. Reiling, MD, FACS, selected survivorship as his president's theme, and ACCC developed Comprehensive Survivorship Services: A practical guide for community cancer centers.
Publication and distribution of ACCC's Comprehensive Survivorship Services: A Practical Guide for Community Cancer Centers was made possible through a sponsorship funded by AstraZeneca and Abraxis Oncology.
ACCC has partnered with the National Coalition for Cancer Survivorship (NCCS) on the Elevating Survivorship project. ACCC has launched a web-based survey to learn about gaps in survivorship care delivery, technical support needed to improve survivorship care, and unmet and evolving survivorship care needs of patients who have been treated with immunotherapy.
Let’s Be Clear: Communicating to Improve the Patient Experience
With this education initiative ACCC seeks to help cancer programs across the country to improve survivorship programming through the application of the health literacy principles.
ACCC Metastatic Breast Cancer Project
While breast cancer is a high-profile disease, receiving significant private and public research funding and focused awareness and prevention initiatives, patients with metastatic breast cancer face unique challenges. ACCC has identified these 6 effective principles for patient support.