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Nurse Practitioners Provide Cancer Survivors with Continuing Care

MSKCC Nurse Practitioner Survivorship Team

MSKCC Nurse Practitioner Survivorship Team

Nurse practitioners help cancer survivors meet their ongoing needs after their formal cancer treatment ends at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center.

Specially trained, they focus on both medical and psychosocial needs that are unique for each patient.  During the first visit, the nurse practitioner develops a survivorship care plan with the patient which is then sent to that patient’s community primary care physician so that cancer care and other medical needs can be coordinated.

While providing continuing care for cancer survivors, the nurse practitioner

  • Reviews the patient’s medical and cancer care history, focusing on the unique needs that may be part of a particular diagnosis and treatment program.
  • Performs a physical examination.
  • Plans and schedules surveillance testing to find recurrences as early as possible.
  • Helps manage aftereffects of cancer treatment.
  • Schedules screening exams for other cancers.
  • Provides counseling for healthy behaviors that may reduce risk of recurrence or new cancers including smoking cessation, diet changes, and exercise.
  • Reviews psychosocial needs at every session, including making referrals for depression and support services.

Nancy Houlihan, RN, AOCN, a Clinical Nurse Specialist in the Cancer Survivorship Program at Memorial Sloan-Kettering says,

It is very rewarding for the nurse practitioners to work with patients who have successfully completed their cancer treatment and are getting on with their lives but have lingering problems that need the attention of a knowledgeable clinician.

The program takes place in the same location where patients received their cancer care so that, if necessary, questions can be answered by the original care team.

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