Survivorship Interview with Patricia Gan
Dr. Patricia Ganz is a marvelous oncologist in LA who has devoted most of her professional life to studying and writing about the issues faced by women after active treatment for breast cancer. She and I shared the honor of being the Susan Komen Foundation's first Hatcher Survivorship Professors, and it was during that period that I was lucky enough to know her better.
Here is the introduction of this article from the ASCO Post and then a link to read more:
A Conversation with Patricia A. Ganz, MD - The ASCO Post
Researching the effects of cancer on patients' quality of life and championing the development and implementation of survivorship care plans have been at the forefront of the 20-year-long career of Patricia A. Ganz, MD, Director of the
Division of Prevention and Control Research at UCLA's Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center and Director of the UCLA-LIVESTRONG Survivorship Center of Excellence.
Six years ago, Dr. Ganz was on the Institute of Medicine (IOM) committee that prepared the report, From Cancer Patient to Cancer Survivor: Lost in Transition, which recommends providing survivors with a comprehensive care summary and follow-up plan to monitor cancer recurrences and spot late effects of treatment. Although the IOM report was published in 2006, a recent survey conducted by the Oncology Nursing Society found that only about 25% of the nurses surveyed had a formal survivorship program in place at their institutions—the result, said the respondents, reflected lack of time and sufficient funding.
But the urgency of having a system in place that tracks ongoing medical and psychosocial problems that arise as a result of a cancer diagnosis is growing, given the rising number of cancer survivors—according to the NCI, there are nearly 12 million cancer survivors in the United States—and a looming shortage of oncologists to care for them long term. These factors, combined with the decentralization of cancer care over the past 2 decades from cancer centers to community hospitals and private practices where patients may see multiple specialists, are making the need to universally adopt survivorship care plans imperative.
The ASCO Post talked with Dr. Ganz about how survivorship care plans can be implemented to improve the coordination and quality of care after cancer treatment ends.