Posted on January 25th, 2016 by
The American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO), in collaboration with the American Cancer Society (ACS), have released updated guidelines regarding follow-up care for breast cancer survivors. The updated guidelines were recently published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.
There is an estimated 3.1 million breast cancer survivors alive today in the United States. At present, 90% of patients diagnosed with breast cancer in the U.S. will be alive 5 years following their diagnosis. As such, it is imperative to address issues that are unique to breast cancer survivors to improve their quality of life and enable them to remain an integral part of society.
Treatment for breast cancer varies considerably, and is dependent upon the type of breast cancer, the extent of its spread, patients’ risk factors, and a patient’s age.
Each different type of treatment is associated with an increased risk of specific long-term issues. Therefore, guidelines specifying follow-up for breast cancer survivors is highly individualized to each patient.
The guidelines are updated by a panel of experts in primary care, gynecology, surgical oncology, medical oncology, radiation oncology, and nursing. The panel performs an extensive literature review to determine the issues to be addressed in survivors, as well as the follow-up recommendations for healthcare providers caring for a breast cancer survivor.
The most current recommendations set forth the following highlights:
More detailed information regarding the updated guidelines can be found in the Journal of Clinical Oncology: http://jco.ascopubs.org/content/early/2015/12/07/JCO.2015.64.3809.full
A patient’s guide to follow-up care for breast cancer survivors, including questions for patients to ask their healthcare providers and explanations of certain follow-up tests that might be performed, can also be found in the Journal of Clinical Oncology: http://www.cancer.net/research-and-advocacy/asco-care-and-treatment-recommendations-patients/follow-care-breast-cancer.
Survivors of breast cancer who are experiencing changes in physical functioning and/or psychosocial issues should speak with their healthcare provider to obtain appropriate referrals or resources to improve their quality of life.
Reference: Runowicz C, Leach C, Henry N, et al. American Cancer Society/American Society of Clinical Oncology Breast Cancer Survivorship Care Guidelines. Available at: http://jco.ascopubs.org/content/early/2015/12/07/JCO.2015.64.3809?jco-home. Accessed January 19, 2016.
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