What is cancer survivorship?

Susan Daron, RN, BSN, OCN, is one of four oncology registered nurses at the Cancer AnswerLine™

Susan Daron, RN, BSN, OCN, is one of four oncology registered nurses at the Cancer AnswerLine™

There are approximately 14 million cancer survivors alive today, and while they share the title of “cancer survivor,” all of them will experience cancer survivorship differently.

While a cancer survivor is anyone diagnosed with cancer that remains alive, survivorship encompasses a survivor’s physical, emotional, social, and financial dimensions, from completion of treatment to the end of life. Survivorship has been called a continuum, a transition, and has even been further classified into distinct “seasons of survivorship”.

The growing numbers of survivors indicate cancer has become more of a chronic disease and less of a terminal illness. Therefore, it is essential for survivors to know how to monitor and preserve their health. With some help from the Institute of Medicine (IOM), and National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN), survivors and their healthcare providers can have some guidance. In 2006 the IOM issued a report recommending each cancer patient receive a “survivorship care plan.” In March of this year the NCCN established its first NCCN Clinical Practice Guidelines in Oncology (NCCN Guidelines) for Survivorship.

The NCCN says “recognizing and managing the health care needs of these survivors has become a significant responsibility of oncologists and primary care providers.”

Creating an individualized care plan can establish goals and provide structure to survivorship. It can also serve as a reminder for the survivor of the importance of continued care and surveillance. For examples of care plans and help in creating one please follow this link.

Celebrate cancer survivorship with us

In honor of Cancer Survivorship, the University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center will be celebrating our 19th annual survivorship event:

  • Sunday June 9, 2013
  • 1-3:30 p.m.
  • Washtenaw Community College – Morris Lawrence Building

Our program will focus on the benefits of humor and laughter. Our keynote speaker, Dr. Paul McGhee, PhD, president of The Laughter Remedy, is a pioneering humor researcher and author of Humor: The Lighter Path to Resilience and Health as well as many other articles and publications. His keynote presentation is titled “Humor Your Tumor.”

Join us as we examine how humor contributes to health and how Dr. McGhee’s 7 Humor Habits Program can help you cope with the stress of learning to live with, and beyond cancer.

Other activities include:

  • Information fair/exhibits on survivorship issues
  • Light refreshments
  • Door Prizes

All cancer survivors, family, friends and health care providers are welcome to attend.


National Cancer Institute: Office of Cancer Survivorship

National Coalition For Cancer Survivorship

American Cancer Society: Treatment and Survivorship Facts and Figures

CDC Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Cancer Survivorship


SusanDaron no captionThe Cancer AnswerLine™ is a dedicated phone line at the Comprehensive Cancer Center that is staffed by oncology nurses five days a week, 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. at 800-865-1125. They have a combined 105 years of experience helping patients and their families who have questions about cancer.



CCC 25 years button150x150The University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center’s 1,000 doctors, nurses, care givers and researchers are united by one thought: to deliver the highest quality, compassionate care while working to conquer cancer through innovation and collaboration. The center is among the top-ranked national cancer programs, and #1 in Michigan for cancer patient care. Seventeen multidisciplinary clinics offer one-stop access to teams of specialists for personalized treatment plans, part of the ideal patient care experience. Patients also benefit through access to promising new cancer therapies.