Survivorship Research Domain

Definition and Potential Research Foci

Health disparities

Elucidating similarities and differences in the survivorship experience across diverse diagnostic, race, ethnic, gender, and socioeconomic groups

Examining the potential role of ethnicity in influencing the quality and length of survival from cancer

Family and caregiver issues

Exploring the impact of cancer diagnosis in a loved one on the family and the impact of family and caregivers on survivors

Instrument development

Developing instruments capable of collecting valid data on survivorship outcomes, specifically for survivors beyond the acute cancer treatment period

Developing/testing tools to evaluate long-term survivorship outcomes that (1) are sensitive to change, (2) include domains of relevance to long-term survivorship, and (3) will permit comparison of survivors to groups of individuals without a cancer history and/or with other chronic diseases over time

Identifying criteria or cutoff scores for qualifying a change in function as being clinically significant


SOURCE: Adapted from Aziz and Rowland (2003).

sophistication and breadth of survivorship research can be traced largely to a prioritization by the National Cancer Institute (NCI) of survivorship research and the establishment in 1996 of the NCI’s Office of Cancer Survivorship (NCI Director, 2002, 2003; Aziz, 2004). Trends in research publications indicate an increased level of activity within this relatively new discipline (Figure 7-1).

Despite the apparent growth in research productivity, the volume of cancer survivorship research is dwarfed by research aimed at cancer treatment (Figure 7-2). The recent emergence of the discipline and the modest levels of research support relative to that available for treatment-related research (see discussion below) may explain some of the difference in research activity. Inherent challenges of the research itself—for example, the need for extended periods of follow-up—may also account for the observed differences (see discussion below).

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