BOX 7.3 Prioritized Areas of Research for the Office of Cancer Survivorship (OCS)

OCS has, to date, focused its research agenda on the issues of survivors who are at least two years post-treatment, because research data has been lacking for this group of individuals. Little information has been available about long-term cancer survivors (5-, 10-, and 15-year survivors) and the types of problems they face. OCS also aims to increase awareness of survivor issues among medical professionals and the general public. Prioritized areas of research include:

  • prevalence of physiological and psychological long-term effects of cancer and its treatment,
  • the risk of second cancers and the relationship between patients' risk levels and previous exposures, treatment received, and genetic predisposition,
  • prevention and treatment of second cancers associated with treatment,
  • issues related to reproductive and sexual functioning,
  • the risk of cardiac disease in adults treated for childhood cancers and how to prevent this delayed treatment effect,
  • the impact of cancer treatment on renal and cognitive function,
  • effects of treatment on offspring of cancer survivors,
  • treatment of premature menopause (e.g., with hormone replacement) and its effect on quality of life and the risk of recurrence,
  • comparisons of cancer survivors with non-cancer patients to assess undesirable outcomes that could be prevented, either during the course of therapy or after therapy is completed,
  • interventions to prevent long-term problems,
  • behavior modification,
  • patient education,
  • surveillance and follow-up care for cancer survivors, and
  • the economic impact of cancer.

A number of survivor groups have been overlooked in studies to date, these include patients with certain diagnoses, survivors representing various ethnic and socioeconomic groups, and the elderly. In addition, longitudinal survivorship studies have been lacking and instrumentation has been inadequate to measure quality of life over time.

SOURCE: Meadows A., presentation at the President's Cancer Panel, June 2, 1998.

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