M. D. Anderson Cancer Center
Date: April 2008
Duration: 0 / 04:10
Return to Cancer Survivorship
Like everyone else, you may develop cancer again. We don’t know if it’s because of the treatment you received before, or because of a susceptibility to cancer.
But with that in mind, don’t be shy about re-visiting your oncologist about long-term side effects or new symptoms. Know what treatments you received for your type of cancer. And ask what cancers you’re at risk for given your diagnosis and the treatments you received. To keep track of this information, it might be helpful for you to keep a journal or a notebook to record your medical history in your own words and for your own use.
Well, I think that they should always want the best care, that they should not be afraid to let their providers know if they're having issues, and they should try to educate themselves when they leave their oncologist, and if they’re not given, ask for their records so that they can hand-carry those to their long-term provider, so there’s a good understanding of what treatments they have had.
Make every effort to work with your doctor and also do your research and learn more about it. Because there are so many resources now that - one can go to the internet, it’s a big resource, and things that you can help your doctor help you.
As a survivor, you may only need information. Like: Should I get revaccinated? What with? What medications can I take, and which should I avoid? These are very important questions.
Some survivors may need more than information. You may have more difficult situations requiring intervention. This might include minimizing chronic problems resulting from your cancer or its treatment, or managing late effects from treatments.
Many survivors are living out in the community with these problems and are not looking for help. They feel that they’re lucky enough to be alive. They feel that if their community physician can’t take care of it, we might not be able to. And these are the people who we also ask, contact us. We might not be able to do something for them now, but by doing research we will be able to do something for them in the future.
I think there’s a lot of hope to come back and be in remission and continue to have your follow-up treatment there because, you know, they have your history. It’s like, you know, a partner that you have history with. They know where you’ve been. They know who you are.
Many people when they think about M. D. Anderson they only think about it once they have cancer and about treatment. They often don’t realize that we take care of kind of both ends of that. We are about the prevention and screening, and early detection of cancer. We’re also about the other end, the survivorship end and the quality of life that a cancer survivor would have.
I would say that one of the strongest tools that cancer patients have is themselves and their treating physicians.
I think Richard sums it up best what it means to be a cancer survivor.
Have that spirit; you have to have that fighting spirit in you that you are going to make it.
Return to Cancer Survivorship
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