Surviving a diagnosis of cancer is devastating… But getting thru the treatment and adjusting to a new and different lifestyle is also traumatic…
As More Patients Survive, Cancer Centers Handle Disease’s Knock-On Effects
“I tell patients now we are going to follow you for your entire lifetime,” says W. Larry Gluck, an oncologist and medical director of the Greenville Health System’s Cancer Institute, in Greenville, S.C., which set up a Center for Integrative Oncology and Survivorship in 2011. “The mental and physical needs of cancer patients go on long after therapy has been completed.” In the past, patients typically were sent back to their family doctor, who might have little knowledge of delayed side effects or complications of treatment and recurrence risks, Dr. Gluck says.
There are close to 14 million cancer survivors living in the U.S., a number that is expected to grow to 18 million by 2022, according to the National Cancer Institute. About 40% have been alive 10 years or more after diagnosis (including this reporter, a leukemia survivor).