You're a Cancer Survivor. Congratulations?
Today’s State of Affairs about cancer survivorship was especially meaningful for me – I’m a breast cancer survivor who just hit the one-year mark back in April. And since I was diagnosed under the age of 30, I share concerns with many other people facing long-term survivorship (besides the number one concern – that the cancer will come back). How much longer will I live – and will it be long enough to experience detrimental effects from my cancer treatments? And since I’m young and could still have decades of life ahead, the use of scans has to be judicious, since the radiation they expose you to is cumulative throughout your life span.
My Last Chemo Treatment
The oncologist who oversaw my treatment and brought me into survivorship, Dr. Alfonso Cervera, was a guest on the show today, and he brought along some links he thought might be helpful to survivors who may visit our website.
Cancer treatments are harsh enough on fully-grown people, but when they are introduced to bodies that are still developing, they can produce some long-term changes. Some of those, and the follow-up guidelines for childhood cancers, are outlined in this extremely comprehensive Long Term Follow Up Practice Statement. It’s produced by United Kingdom Children’s Cancer Late Effects Study Group.
For cancer survivors of all ages, here are some more links about life after cancer treatment:
- Facing Forward: Life After Cancer Treatment
- Cancer Survival Toolbox
- The American Cancer Society’s Cancer Survivors Network
Our other guest today, Dr. Sheron Williams from the Norton Cancer Institute Survivorship Program, compared new cancer survivors to young mothers – we look to those who’ve been through it before us for advice, and for hope. I certainly feel fortunate to have heard from our callers today who are long-term survivors, and though I’d be happier if there weren’t any new cancer patients, I know there will be, and I hope one day I can be the old experienced mom who advises them when they’re just learning, and wondering how they will make it.