Due to advances in treatment and earlier screenings, more and more people are living after a cancer diagnosis. The American Cancer Society (ACS) defines a cancer survivor as any person who has been diagnosed with cancer, from the time of diagnosis through the balance of life. Survivorship, like cancer itself, is complex and can be difficult to navigate.
The ACS estimated 13.7 million Americans with a history of cancer were alive on January 1, 2012. If current estimates continue, there will be an estimated 18 million cancer survivors nationwide by 2022.
In Indiana, as of December 31, 2012, there were estimated 286,973 survivors for all cancers combined. The four highest cancer burdens for Indiana (lung, breast, colorectal and prostate) account for approximately 56 percent of these survivors.
Cancer survivors commonly report negative behavioral, medical, and health care access issues that may contribute to poor long-term medical and psychosocial outcomes. Several resources and trainings have been developed to better address the needs of cancer survivors, improve treatment and follow-up care, and increase education of providers on survivorship care. Listed in the sidebar are links to a series of resources for everyone who plays an integral role in cancer survivorship — including physicians and health care professionals, the survivor, and caregivers.