There is a lack of guidelines when it comes to standard of care for adult cancer survivors, and it is time to start thinking about establishing such guidelines, according to nurse practitioner Richard Boyajian, who is the clinical director of adult survivorship at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Boston, Massachusetts. He said establishing appropriate guidelines could potentially reduce morbidity and mortality.
Globally, there are 20 million cancer survivors, and the number of survivors is expected to grow because people are living longer as a result of newer and better therapies. Many survivors have little or no understanding of the physical, psychosocial, and economic issues that face them for the rest of their lives. Nurses can play a major role in planning survivorship care to help survivors negotiate the next stages of their lives and enjoy a good quality of life.
Our research suggests that health education programs such as SHARE may have an important impact on improving bone health behaviors among adolescent survivors of childhood cancer,” lead author Darren Mays, PhD, MPH, Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center, tells the Academy of Oncology Nurse Navigators.
Although breastfeeding may be impaired in some survivors of childhood cancers as a result of treatments, such women who are able to successfully breastfeed should do so, because of the protective effects it can impart,1 according to research led by Susan W. Ogg, RN, MSN, a re search nurse in the Department of Epidemiology and Cancer Control, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, Memphis, Tennessee. “Some nurses work with women and assess their lactation potential throughout pregnancy, labor, delivery, and postpartum,” Ogg said.
Each year, adult cancer survivors spend, on average, $4000 to $5000 more on total medical expenditures than people who have never had cancer, according to a study of survivors younger than 65 years. “These ongoing expenditures signal what oncology nurses already know…when people finish their treatment for cancer, that is not necessarily the end of it. They require ongoing support. There’s a need for heightened surveillance that extends for the rest of their lives.
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