As I continue the cancer journey with my sister-in-law, we have entered the period of time where she has completed the active treatment and begun taking an Aromatase Inhibitor for 5 years. After five years, another discussion will be held with the hopes more research will prove the appropriate plan for the following five years. I have read many articles on the concern for compliance of daily medication for five years which is one more reason for periodic follow-up appointments. My sister-in-law like many patients doesn’t understand the actual purpose of the drug, but the Survivorship Care Plan (CSP) documents the drug as part of their cancer treatment. For her, this provides motivation to continue taking it without missing a dose.
Though I have been working with facilities on implementation of Survivorship Care Plans (SCPs) for several years, my recent experience has energized my enthusiasm for its importance. As a cancer registrar, I anticipated each step of her cancer journey but I had no idea how many times I would reference the CSP for future appointments, responding to questions from new physicians, and most recently an AFLAC request for reimbursement. It will be interesting to learn if AFLAC accepts the SCPs as the required documentation.
The patients who are required to receive a SCP have been defined in recent CoC Source. This has been a confusing topic for many of you but I have included the definitions and a recent Forum question and answer.
Analytic cases with Stage I, II, or III cancers that are treated with curative intent for initial cancer occurrence and who have completed active therapy (other than long-term hormonal therapy)
Non Required Patients
Stage 0 or IV or metastatic disease and those patients pathologically diagnosed but never treated or seen for follow-up.
Further Clarification- From CoC Forum
Every year, the following topics need to be addressed and documented in the cancer committee minutes. Reporting on the number of SCPs provided each year is not the full intent of this yearly requirement. The discussion must include the processes for:
- Generating and completing SCPs.
- Delivery method
- Identify eligible patients
- Implement, document and track numbers
- Monitor and review
As a caregiver, I will always keep the SCP in a safe location to reference for years to come.