In other words, implementation of SCPs requires communication across disciplines and will require education of primary care providers about the needs of cancer survivors. Patients find SCPs valuable, but for a plan to work, the primary care providers must understand it and know what to watch for in patients, Gosselin explains. 

ASCO’s new, streamlined planning templates should help encourage implementation among busy providers. Previous versions were much longer than the new two-page form, Gosselin notes.

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The “pockets of success” achieved with SCP implementation so far have included nurse practitioner- or physician assistant-led survivorship clinics, Gosselin is quick to note. “Then there’s also the nurse who is working in the clinic to support patient care. It’s really patient engagement after treatment that’s critical. Telling patients, here’s what you need to do long-term, the types of appointments you’ll need to have, the exercise and diet modifications you will need to make, and knowing if the patient can actually do this is critical.”

Because oncology nurses develop a relationship with patients during treatment, they are well-situated to help patients transition into survivorship care, Gosselin says. Oncology nurses will frequently provide that bridge back to primary care for their patients, Alfano agrees. “There has to be a method to communicate between oncology and primary care so that survivors can be treated safely in primary care settings. The ACS is creating comprehensive SCP guidelines for primary care providers; so far, one has been published for prostate cancer. We’re convening guidelines panels composed of providers and researchers from all across the country.”

Oncology nurses will also need to help prepare patients to be their own bridge to effective posttreatment care in primary settings, Gosselin notes: “We really want to teach the patient to do good self-care, at the end of the day, so they’re engaged in their health.”

Online cancer survivorship care resources

From Cancer Patient to Cancer Survivor: Lost in Transition
Institute of Medicine

Survivorship Care Clinical Tools and Resources
American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO)

ASCO Treatment Summary and Survivorship Care Plan

Survivorship Care Plans
American Cancer Society

Cancer Survivorship E-Learning for Primary Care Providers
A program of the National Cancer Survivorship Resource Center

Journey Forward

Essential Elements Brief
Livestrong Foundation

Bryant Furlow is a medical journalist based in Albuquerque, New Mexico. 


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2. Committee on Cancer Survivorship: Improving Care and Quality of Life; National Cancer Policy Board. Hewitt M, Greenfield S, Stovall E, eds. From Cancer Patient to Cancer Survivor: Lost in Transition. Washington DC: The National Academies Press; 2006. Accessed June 5, 2015.

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