As a cancer survivor, what elements of care would you rank as the highest priority for you to achieve and maintain your health? And how valuable are those elements in preventing costly complications in the future?
Symptom management, care coordination, surveillance tests, late effects education, psychosocial care, nutrition services, physical activity education – survivors and experts have listed over 100 such elements. In the current environment of scrutiny over the costs of health care, each element deserves to be examined for the benefit such care provides and the costs of delivering such care across all of the settings and populations who make up the over 12 million US cancer survivors.
One of the major achievements of the LIVESTRONG Foundation has been to establish a voice for survivors of cancer and to foster the development of cancer survivorship as a care and research discipline within the cancer community.
LIVESTRONG continues to lead the cancer world in appreciating the needs of cancer survivors and developing best practices to serve those needs. The LIVESTRONG Survivorship Center of Excellence Network of NCI-designated comprehensive cancer centers has worked since its establishment in 2005 to develop, evaluate, and disseminate new models for care of cancer survivors at their centers and among community partners. This work has not only served thousands of survivors, but has also built a valuable experience from which to measure what elements of survivorship care are most effective and valued.
Last week, LIVESTRONG took another major step, in hosting the LIVESTRONG Essential Elements of Survivorship Care Meeting in Washington, DC.
LIVESTRONG partnered with a hundred leaders, stakeholders, and experts to review their experiences and data, and to make practical suggestions about what elements of survivorship care rise to top as “essential” for all cancer survivors.
Consensus was achieved among several elements that must be delivered to all cancer survivors – a treatment summary and care plan, screening for relapse or new cancers, care coordination between providers, health promotion education, and symptom management. Many other elements rose to the top of services all cancer survivors need and deserve.
When it comes to paying for these services, a dose of economic reality was met with a determined sense of optimism. Care services to cancer survivors provide the opportunity to not only improve the quality of life and satisfaction of survivors, but also save money to the health care system by preventing future cancer-related complications and late effects, and ensuring full and productive lives for those living after a cancer diagnosis.
This work once again demonstrates how LIVESTRONG serves to inspire and empower cancer survivors. The outcomes of the LIVESTRONG Essential Elements of Survivorship Care Meeting will serve as the foundation for the next generation of programs designed to deliver care to cancer survivors, establishing the research base to best understand what works best and demonstrating the value of these services.