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New Online Tool Supports and Empowers Cancer Survivors

By HERWriter Guide
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With more people today living with cancer than dying from it, there’s a clear need for more avenues to help people learn how to navigate a life that has been changed forever. There is, however, no coordinated system of care in the United States and many patients are left to fend for themselves. Now a free online service wants to empower survivors by providing the ability to develop a custom survivorship care plan.

The new computer-based tool comes from Journey Forward and can be found at http://www.journeyforward.org/ It enables anyone diagnosed with any type of cancer to have their medical history, cancer treatment summary and a post-treatment survivorship care plan captured in one place. These plans improve coordination of care throughout their lives, and helps survivors and their loved ones understand their cancer treatment and follow-up needs. Survivorship care plans also put survivors in a better position to advocate for themselves, monitor their health and participate in decisions about future care.

The system works as a coordinated post-treatment plan between the survivor’s oncology team, a primary care physician and other health care professionals. The oncologist creates a summary of the survivor’s treatment and includes direction for future care. The plan builder includes care plan templates for colon, breast and other cancer types.

A typical survivorship care plan includes:
1. patient diagnosis and treatment summary
2. best schedule for follow-up tests
3. information on late and long-term effects of cancer treatment
4. list of symptoms to look for
5. list of support resources

This comprehensive medical summary, given to the survivor and their primary care physician, helps support better survivorship care. The plan includes important information for monitoring possible secondary cancers and any late- or long-term effects of the survivor’s cancer treatment. The plan also relieves a survivor from having to recall all the details of treatment and ensures all future health care providers are working as a team for the survivor’s care.

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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.