Last year, MD Anderson President John Mendelsohn, M.D., proposed 10 steps that can be taken to ensure cancer deaths decrease more rapidly, the ranks of survivors swell, and an even greater number of cancers are prevented in the first place.
This is the fourth in a series of posts on key actions outlined by Mendelsohn.
4. Address the needs of cancer survivors.
Today there are 11 million Americans who have survived cancer for more than five years -- either free of disease, or in some cases living with their disease under control. Survivors of cancer have many challenges that we must address, including:
- managing pain, disability and stress related to the cancer or the side effects of therapy,
- helping patients and their loved ones to lead full lives from diagnosis forward,
- preventing, or detecting as early as possible, recurrence of the cancer or development of a second primary cancer (for which the risk is increased), and
- treating a difficult cancer optimally to ensure achieving the most healthy years possible.
Since many more patients are surviving their cancers, helping them manage all the consequences of their disease and its treatment is critically important. It is an area ripe for innovative research and for improvement in delivery of care.
Next: 5. Train providers of cancer care and future researchers.