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Nicole Vicente, licensed clinical social worker

Nicole Vicente, licensed clinical social worker

There are nearly 17 million people living with a history of cancer in the United States, according to the American Association for Cancer Research. With continued research and breakthroughs, cancer treatment is improving outcomes for patients and saving lives.

Many cancers are preventable, treatable and curable. June, which is National Cancer Survivorship Awareness Month, is the perfect time to be more vigilant in our self-advocacy, cancer prevention and surveillance.

Managing Survivorship

At a time when people think they should feel relief and joy with the end of active cancer treatment, often they feel a loss and increased anxiety in transitioning into cancer survivorship. This can be a time of concern, worry and bewilderment in how to move forward from cancer while remaining focused on recurrence and surveillance.

Feeling connected to a team of providers in cancer care and moving forward from this care team can leave people feeling like they are on shaky ground. For those who have been diagnosed with cancer or are assisting in cancer care for a loved one, we all know that cancer changes everything. Those changes do not stop or alleviate once entering survivorship. This is an imperative time to continue to remain focused on good self-care, not only physically but also emotionally.

Options for support can include:

  • Join a peer support group (Moffitt Cancer Center offers multiple support groups for our patients and families).
  • Speak with a social worker, therapist or counselor.
  • Share your feelings with family and friends.
  • Connect to other survivors.
  • Share your story and mentor others.
  • Advise your health care team of your fears and concerns.

Continued Care

Did you know that Moffitt has its own Survivorship Program?

Post cancer care is an important part of survivorship and remaining healthy. Being connected to a qualified provider who is aware of your cancer diagnosis, treatments, medical and genetic history, and risks is a vital part of moving forward from cancer diagnosis and treatment. Survivorship care plans and surveillance in post cancer patients may include disease prevention education, labs, scans, imaging and tests to monitor changes in results and to evaluate increased risks. A patient’s condition is closely monitored to assess for early signs of disease recurrence. Early detection of recurrence promotes better long-term results and improved quality of life.

Forward Thinking

A cancer diagnosis often leaves patients with feelings of uncertainty about their future. This is a crucial time to focus on new habits and routines and to reengage in activities that are supportive. Healthy eating, exercise, meditation, improved sleep, energy awareness and learning to say no can be an essential part of cancer recovery. Lastly, take a moment to celebrate your survivorship and the survivors who have touched your lives.

Written by Nicole Vicente, licensed clinical social worker