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Cancer Control. 2010 Jan;17(1):35-43.

Improving survivorship care for patients with colorectal cancer.

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  • 1Health Outcomes & Behavior Program, H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center & Research Institute, Tampa, FL 33612, USA.



The consequences of cancer and its treatment are substantial. The aging population and recent advances in detection and treatment of cancer are expected to augment the burgeoning cohort of cancer survivors. During the transition to off-treatment status, patients may experience heightened needs coupled with significant decrements, if not dissolution, in quality of care during this critical period of re-entry. A basic source of this problem is the lack of communication and coordination of care during this transition. Treatment summaries and survivorship care plans have been proposed as potential solutions to improve quality of care for cancer survivors. Patients with colorectal cancer provide an ideal population within which to begin to empirically examine their clinical utility.


Potential benefits and promising research methodology are proposed, including adoption of a treatment summary (brief synopsis of cancer care received) and a survivorship care plan (recommendations for follow-up care). The status of the evidence base is reviewed.


To date, treatment summaries and survivorship care plans remain largely untried and untested in adult oncology despite their promise to improve patient outcomes and quality of life.


The implementation of treatment summaries and survivorship care plans rests on the provision of strong evidence of efficacy and feasibility in the context of follow-up care for cancer survivors. Qualitative, observational, and interventional research should be initiated in order to identify benefits to patients and survivors by the enhancement of survivorship care planning.

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