When you are actively fighting cancer, the battle is all-consuming. Any excess energy is used up just getting through one day after another. There is little time to think, much less plan, for life after cancer. But experience has shown that cancer survivors who create a long-range post-cancer health plan are more likely to thrive.
With improved early screenings, new cancer vaccines and integrated cancer treatments, your chances of surviving cancer are better than they have ever been before. According to the National Cancer Institute, there are now 13.7 million cancer survivors in the U.S. Sixty-four percent of American cancer survivors have passed their 5-year anniversary, and 40% have lived 10 or more years after winning their battle against cancer. By 2022, NCI expects the number of cancer survivors to reach 18 million. All the more reason to have an after-cancer plan.
To increase your chance of long-term survival, the Institute of Medicine recommends that every cancer survivor work with his or her medical team to create a personalized plan for staying healthy after cancer. To encourage survivors to take this important step for prolonging their lives, Dr. Mehmet Oz and Michael Roizen, authors of the YOU health books, have been promoting what might be called a 5-step “YOU After Cancer” survivorship plan.
- Anyone who has been diagnosed with cancer should create a survivorship plan. Work with your oncologist and your Issels cancer treatment team to create a personalized plan. Plan building resources and sample survivor plans are available at JourneyForward.org. Some insurance companies may also offer plan writing services.
To be continued