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Cancer Survivorship Is Not ‘One Size Fits All’


October 4, 2021

Jamie Cesanek

Cancer Survivorship Is Not ‘One Size Fits All’

Whether an individual is currently receiving cancer treatment or well into remission, it’s important that they think about managing their survivorship and the long-term effects treatment, one expert says.

With the growing cancer population, there is what’s been coined the “silver tsunami effect,” meaning that two-thirds of patients living with cancer are over the age of 65, and therefore tend to have many more comorbidities and other types of health conditions.

“But it also means that we have a lot of patients who we need to think about, how do we really co-manage them, maybe with other specialists, with primary care,” said Jennifer R. Klemp, professor of medicine in the Division of Medical Oncology and director of cancer survivorship at the University of Kansas Cancer Center, during a presentation at the 12th Annual Joining FORCEs Against Hereditary Cancer Conference. “And when you look at the silver tsunami, the two populations who really have the greatest amount of risk are the youngest and the oldest.”

The total number of cancer survivors has steeply increased in recent years, Klemp explained. Which means that many patients are living longer both with and through their disease, making it important to manage their survivorship care.

Every patient’s survivorship journey is different: some may never leave the treatment phase, others will enter long-term survivorship and continuity of care and others may leave a treatment phase and then return again later on when their cancer is no longer in remission.

“Some of the same exact things we needed to offer to them during the treatment phase are needed in the continuity of care phase,” Klemp said. “We think about navigation, we think about genetics, we think about cardiotoxicity and our heart health. So really putting this into perspective is important.”