Over the last four decades cancer treatment has evolved by leaps and bounds. Earlier it was assumed that most patients would die of the diseases, whereas today a majority of people with early diagnosis of cancer are expected to be cured.
World-wide it is estimated that there are approximately 30 million or more cancer survivors.
The largest group of cancer survivors in the USA are women who had breast cancer (23 %) followed by prostate cancer (in men 19 %), colorectal cancer (10 %) gynaecologic cancer (9 %), blood cancer (7 %) bladder cancer (6 %) melanoma (5 %) lung cancer (3%) and other (17%). We do not have any estimate for these figures in India.
During this period guidelines for Quality Cancer Care have become well defined and established. Quality Cancer Care not only includes different aspects of the Treatment Plan but also a detailed Survivorship Plan for each patient has become an integral part of Quality Cancer Care.
A Cancer Survivor is an individual who had cancer and is now living a life after the treatment of Cancer is over.
These may be individuals who after finishing their treatment have no signs of cancer, or they maybe those who are living with, through and beyond cancer. Surviving Cancer becomes a lifelong commitment and the patient need help with the problems they face, and for questions they have regarding their diseases , emotional, social, legal, financial needs etc.
Cancer survivorship maybe considered to be of three types
Clearly when the problems patients face in each phase of survivorship is different and hence plans have to be made to help them through each phase. It is only when we follow the guidelines of Quality Cancer Care that we can ensure that the cancer patient is comfortable and receiving optimal care no matter which phase of survivorship he or she is in.
All cancer patients are entitled to Quality Cancer Care which means we must ensure the patient has access to the following:
Once the treatment is finished the survivor should have access to
Cancer Survivorship Plan (CSP) will provide you a roadmap to adjust to changes in relationships, careers, life style changes, anxiety of recurrence and general anxiety about your health. It will help you develop a wellness Plan to take care of your physical, emotional, social and spiritual needs. This plan will include and summarize:
DISHA is the Dharamshila Initiative on Survivorship After Cancer, who we hope will take care of all aspects of cancer, which we hope will take care of all aspects of Cancer and Survivorship that we have explained in this brief write up.
With it we hope we can make your journey ahead and your life after cancer easier and more productive.
The Cancer Survivorship plan will help you address all issues of long-term health and wellness for you- “The Cancer Survivor”. It will give you a clear sense of “what next” after that your treatment is over.
To help you in your journey forward the DISHA Team will includes