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Expert HERWriter Guide Blogger

Thanks for bringing attention to this important topic Lynette. The media image the public sees of strong, healthy, athletic, fully made-up and photogenic women running races while singing a happy tune about surviving cancer is a grossly distorted picture of cancer survivorship.

The challenges of identifying needs, locating appropriate care, obtaining funding, fighting insurance providers and pushing through many other obstacles are many. While some oncologists may state concerns about PCPs not being able to provide adequate care, the reality is many oncologists don't provide it either, and there are hospitals boasting about their exceptional cancer care while only focusing on the front end of the journey and leaving their own patients hanging.

In order to have a good survivorship plan, patients today often have to build their own plan and support team. There are many online resources to help do this. Survivors can also benefit from seeking resources beyond their own specific diagnosis to meet their needs. As examples of this, although I am living with a blood cancer - leukemia, I have found warm, welcoming and expert support through the local group for women with ovarian cancer and through Livestrong, The Wellness Community and other organizations which support all cancer patients and caregivers.

The medical system tends to isolate us by diagnosis, which helps us get to the right degree of expert clinical care. As survivors, however, we have many common needs and the more we work together to share information, resources and support, the better. Many of the strongest people I know are cancer survivors. They may not have special songs or run races but they are the ones who help others live better lives and that's what really matters.

July 27, 2011 - 9:05am


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