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Cancer Survivorship, an Emerging Subdiscipline in Oncology

Posted Apr 26 2010 12:00am

The special challenges of caring for cancer survivors is spawning a new subdiscipline in oncology, survivorship. There are various resources now available focusing on aspects of this new field. One of them is a site providing links to 14 articles presented at the Fourth Biennial Cancer Survivorship Research Conference in Atlanta, Georgia, in June 2008 ( Cancer Survivorship Research: Mapping the New Challenges Supplement ). Here is a brief summary of some of the general topics covered in these articles:

It should be stressed that not all aspects of survivorship care relate to emotional and social support of these patients as suggested by these articles. Most cancer patients have undergone major surgical procedures, subjected to countless imaging studies, and exposed to myriad powerful drugs. Some will have a genetic predisposition to the development of new neoplasms or will suffer recurrences of their primary lesions. This is a patient population that deserves very close clinical scrutiny over many years. The good news is that we will soon have a  cadre of healthcare professionals specially trained for this task and cancer survivors will derive great benefit from this expanded view of clinical oncology.
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