Friday, December 14, 2012

Life after cancer

There is a term for  life after cancer. It is 'Survivorship'. I am not a fan of the word at all. I consider survivor a label and all I have ever survived is a bunch of doctor appointments. But I digress.

There is now focus on 'survivorship' studies or the lack of them. Doctors focus on treating patients but historically have been paying less attention to the patient's quality of life issues after treatment. It is not uncommon for cancer treatment to leave patients with a range of issues. This new field is also called 'patient activation' (which isn't much better than the 's-word'. It provides "education, resources, and services for issues of survivors such as sexuality, cognitive issues, fertility, neuropathy, returning back to primary care, depression and late effects such as second cancers and cardiac issues."

If you think about how harsh cancer treatment really is compounded by the emotions behind a diagnosis, it is not surprising that the patients are left with such a range issues.

It is just sad that it has taken modern medicine so long to realize that we do need help after treatment.

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