Cancer survivors in the United States: a review of the literature and a call to action.
ABSTRACT The number of cancer survivors in the U.S. has increased from 3 million in 1971, when the National Cancer Act was enacted, to over 12 million today. Over 70% of children affected by cancer survive more than 10 years, and most are cured. Most cancer survivors are adults, with two-thirds of them 65 years of age or older and two-thirds alive at five years. The most common cancer diagnoses among survivors include breast, prostate and colorectal cancers. This review was conducted to better appreciate the challenges associated with cancer survivors and the opportunities healthcare providers have in making a difference for these patients.
Comprehensive review of literature based on PubMed searches on topics related to cancer survivorship, and associated physical, cognitive, socio-economic, sexual/behavioral and legal issues.
At least 50% of cancer survivors suffer from late treatment-related side effects, often including physical, psychosocial, cognitive and sexual abnormalities, as well as concerns regarding recurrence and/or the development of new malignancies. Many are chronic in nature and some are severe and even life-threatening. Survivors also face issues involving lack of appropriate health maintenance counseling, increased unemployment rate and workplace discrimination.
Advances in the diagnosis and treatment of cancer will lead to more survivors and better quality of life. However, tools to recognize potentially serious long-lasting side effects of cancer therapy earlier in order to treat and/or prevent them must be developed. It is incumbent upon our health care delivery systems to make meeting these patients' needs a priority.
Article: American Society of Clinical Oncology clinical evidence review on the ongoing care of adult cancer survivors: cardiac and pulmonary late effects.[show abstract] [hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: To review the evidence on the incidence of long-term cardiac or pulmonary toxicity secondary to chemotherapy, radiotherapy, or trastuzumab in symptomatic and asymptomatic cancer survivors. An American Society of Clinical Oncology Panel reviewed pertinent information from the literature through February 2006. Few studies directly addressing the benefits of screening for long-term cardiac or pulmonary toxicity in asymptomatic cancer survivors who received chemotherapy, radiotherapy, or trastuzumab were identified. The reviewed literature included primarily retrospective and cross-sectional studies describing the incidence of cardiac and pulmonary late effects. Anatomic and/or functional abnormalities have been associated with use of all currently available anthracyclines and their derivatives. Trastuzumab-related cardiac dysfunction rarely causes death, and in most cases is reversible with improvement in cardiac function on drug discontinuation and/or treatment with cardiac medications. The estimated aggregate incidence of radiation-induced cardiac disease is 10% to 30% by 5 to 10 years post-treatment, although the incidence may be lower with modern techniques. Radiation pneumonitis is reported in 5% to 15% of lung cancer patients receiving definitive external-beam radiation therapy. A minority of patients may develop progressive pulmonary fibrosis; late complications include cor pulmonale and respiratory failure. Bleomycin-induced pneumonitis is an acute rather than late effect of treatment. Late pulmonary complications in bone marrow or stem cell transplantation patients who develop interstitial pneumonitis include idiopathic pneumonia syndrome and bronchiolitis obliterans. An increased incidence of cardiac and/or pulmonary dysfunction is observed in cancer survivors. Research is needed to identify high-risk patients, and to determine the optimal screening strategies and subsequent treatment.Journal of Clinical Oncology 10/2007; 25(25):3991-4008. · 18.37 Impact Factor
Article: Persistent psychological distress in long-term survivors of pediatric sarcoma: the experience at a single institution.[show abstract] [hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: The long-term psychological impact of pediatric sarcoma is largely unknown. As part of a cross-sectional study examining the late effects of pediatric sarcoma therapy, we examined whether psychological distress or posttraumatic stress symptoms are present in an adult cohort of pediatric sarcoma survivors. Thirty-four patients participated in the study, an average of 17 years after their treatment ended, each completing the SCID module for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder, Impact of Events Scale, Brief Symptom Inventory (BSI) and a questionnaire assessing sociodemographic variables and psychosocial issues. Significant persistent psychological distress characterized this cohort of patients. Seventy-seven percent scored in the clinical range on the BSI. Twelve percent met diagnostic criteria for PTSD. Current psychological distress was associated with intrusive thoughts and avoidant behaviors, male gender, employment, difficulty readjusting to work/school after treatment, and enduring worries about health. No differences were found based on age, presence of metastatic disease or time since diagnosis. This is the first report of a clinical evaluation of psychological distress in a cohort of pediatric sarcoma survivors treated with intensive multimodal cancer therapy. The results suggest that survivors of pediatric sarcoma might be at high risk for adverse psychological outcomes. Appropriate interventions are proposed.Psycho-Oncology 11/2006; 15(10):898-910. · 3.34 Impact Factor