Cancer survivorship

From projections of time trends it is clear that the number of individuals living with a cancer diagnosis is increasing still more than the incidence and mortality. The first step towards cure is prolongation of survival.

Patients living with a cancer disease which is under control - (some subgroups of patients for long time periods) - need health care systems. Converting cancer to a chronic disease which may not affect survival has been proposed as an achievable goal. An increasing number of treated patients with no evidence of disease may also be a challenge for health care systems.

Psychosocial and physical consequences of a cancer diagnosis and treatment may be substantial, not only in a short time perspective, but also in the long term. Rehabilitation efforts are often suboptimal or non-existent. Knowledge of long-term side effects is limited and more research efforts are needed. The concept of quality of life has to be implemented into clinical research and follow-up of treatments.

The analysis of potential problems among cancer survivors is a multiprofessional task. The EACS may offer the necessary competence to suggest a strategy for research activities aiming at decreasing the suffering of cancer survivors.

Co-authors: John Smyth, Unnur Valdimarsdottir, Louis Denis, Pernilla Lagergren, Sara Faithful, Jan-Willem Coebergh, Neil Aaronson, Vittorio Mattioli

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