lems in accessing care due to a lack of health insurance coverage and inadequate insurance coverage are described in Chapter 6.


For years cancer survivors have voiced concerns about access to appropriate services following their primary treatment. A decade ago, the National Coalition for Cancer Survivorship promulgated 12 principles that it believed were imperatives for quality cancer care (NCCS, 1996). Two of the principles relate to the delivery of care to cancer survivors:

  • “People with histories of cancer have the right to continued medical follow-up with basic standards of care that include the specific needs of long-term survivors.” (Principle 6)

  • “Long-term survivors should have access to specialized follow-up clinics that focus on health promotion, disease prevention, rehabilitation, and identification of physiologic and psychological problems. Communication with the primary care physician must be maintained.” (Principle 7)

The committee agreed with the underlying premise of these principles—that an organized system of care is needed to ensure the provision of survivorship care. In its deliberations, the committee sought a clear definition of the essential components of survivorship care and examples of delivery models that could be adopted throughout the nation in communities with varying characteristics and needs. The committee, following its review of the post-treatment clinical and psychosocial needs of cancer survivors, concluded that survivorship care represents a distinct phase of the cancer care trajectory. In its effort to better define this phase of care, the committee addressed key questions concerning the content of survivorship care, its recipients, and attributes of a system of care for this population.

What Are the Essential Components of Survivorship Care?

Survivorship care includes four components: (1) prevention and detection of new cancers and recurrent cancer; (2) surveillance for cancer spread, recurrence, or second cancers; (3) intervention for consequences of cancer and its treatment (e.g., medical problems such as lymphedema and sexual dysfunction; symptoms, including pain and fatigue; psychological distress experienced by cancer survivors and their caregivers; and concerns related to employment and insurance); and (4) coordination between specialists and primary care providers to ensure that all of the survivor’s health needs are met (e.g., health promotion, immunizations, screening for both cancer and noncancerous conditions, and the care of concurrent conditions).

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