What is a Cancer Treatment Summary & Survivorship Care Plan?

doctor writing a cancer survivorship plan

Last month we covered the relation between treatment areas and the correlated late effects that can develop. This is where a survivorship care plan comes into play. This report is for doctors to carefully monitor for specific late effects that a child will be susceptible to. In addition, over the course of a child’s battle to defeat cancer they will undergo several treatments. As an adult, a child’s doctors will need to know the types and details of your child’s treatments. This will be compiled into a report called a treatment summary.

Cancer Treatment Summary

It is important to gather the details of treatments as they occur instead of trying to find them later. Typically, personal records are destroyed after a few years and may no longer be available to refer to. You can start gathering information by getting a copy from the doctor, hospital, or clinic who treated your child. A treatment summary will include details such as:

  • Type of cancer and date of discovery
  • Name of the treatment method used
  • Names and dates of received treatments
  • Reports of the condition of the tumor, including any special testing used and imaging results
  • Notes of developed side effects or issues that occured due to treatment
  • Details of any supportive followup care received, including counseling or physical therapy
  • Contact information of your child’s medical team
  • Identifying number and title of the clinical trial, if applicable

Survivorship Care Plan

After the treatments stop, there are many side effects that will disappear. However there are some that continue to persist for several months or years after treatments. Furthermore, there are some side effects (called late effects) that don’t develop until later in life. A survivorship care plan is created to combat and watch for these developments. Not only are these reports helpful to doctors but they are helpful to parents for catching developing late effects early as well. Survivorship care plans also outline types of screenings and treatments for developing late effects and additional information such as:

  • When to test for potential development of long-term and late effects and how to treat them
  • When and how to get additional support or counseling if needed 
  • How to recognize the need for and where to get help for possible learning or school difficulties
  • Health insurance information and where to find other financial support if needed
  • Additional schedule for visits with other specialist doctors, educators, and therapists if needed
  • Suggestions for living a healthy lifestyle, including any specific nutrition and physical exercise requirements and limitations

Cancer Survivorship Clinic

After a couple years have passed after treatments have ended, childhood cancer survivors often travel to a childhood cancer survivorship clinic. That is where specialized doctors will check for any developing long-term and late effects from the treatment. In addition to checking for any issues that could become a health problem, they also do tests to make sure the cancer hasn’t returned. 

Final Notes

Long-term health care is vital to your child’s new lifestyle after treatments. Monitoring persistent side effects and taking steps towards preventing any new late effects from developing. Overall, since there are different treatments required for different cancers, there is also a range of side and late effects. There are several different factors that determine what types of side and late effects can develop such as 

  • Cancer-related factors such as the type of cancer, where it was in the body, and how it affected tissues and organs
  • Treatment-related factors such as the type and dose of treatment(s) or the type of surgery
  • Patient-related factors such as your child’s gender, age at diagnosis, length of time since diagnosis/treatment, personal medical history, family medical history, and health habits

Remember to have your child’s doctor and medical team’s contact information in case anything happens after hours! If you are confused or have any questions, write them down to take with you to your child’s appointment. Your medical team is there to help you and your child understand what’s happening and what the plan is for the future. If you are looking for a way to help out families affected by cancer, join with Sydni Smiles at our upcoming September events!