One survivor quoted in the study said he would love to see a survivor plan be part of his treatment plan, so "everybody would be on the same page."
"Patients need a very clear road map about what to do," said Hudson.
Almost 70 percent of survivors have conditions that require a comprehensive approach to their care, including cardiovascular disease, kidney issues, diabetes and fertility-related problems, many related to chemotherapy and radiation treatments, Hudson explained.
"Follow-up care is not just about making sure your cancer's not back. It's about making sure you monitor and get care for problems like cardiovascular issues and bone density issues that might happen because of some of your cancer treatments. It's the health prevention piece that's usually done in primary care," Hudson said.
Dr. Catherine Broome, an associate professor of medicine and a medical oncologist at Georgetown University's Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center, said while the study is small, it does raise important issues.
"As a medical community in general, we've struggled with this question about follow-up care for a number of years. Economics and health care reimbursements are beginning to play a role in how we're asked to manage these patients," Broome said.
"I personally do like to try and follow my patients much longer than the first few years. When I see them, I may be a bit more focused on some of those things that might be overlooked by a primary care physician, like an early-stage breast cancer patient who got chemo and may be cured but who might experience long-term effects such as thyroid abnormalities," said Broome. "The subtle signs might be more obvious to us."
The LIVESTRONG Survivorship Center of Excellence, at the University of Pennsylvania's Abramson Cancer Center in Philadelphia, helps patients navigate the transition from cancer patient to cancer
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