Cancer is a life-changing experience. Even after their therapy treatment is finished, many cancer survivors need follow-up care, help and support to move forward with their lives. They may have to adjust to long-term physical effects of their treatment; regain their strength; deal with ‘brain fog’ or fatigue; resolve issues around body image; address emotional issues; or simply rebuild their self-confidence to help them return to life as it was before their illness.
In February 2017, Osler’s Oncology Clinic launched a weekly Cancer Survivorship Clinic that provides care and counselling to cancer survivors. The Clinic team works with each patient to develop a care plan for their ongoing treatment and monitoring needs. It’s an important tool that they can use as a personal reference and share with their family physician and anyone else involved in their future care. Patients and their family members also receive information and encouragement that helps empower them to manage their own care and well-being; paying attention to things like exercise, stress management, and proper nutrition.
“The stress and anxiety of having cancer doesn’t go away, even when the active treatment phase is finished,”
says Tommasa Giallo, Clinical Services Manager, Oncology, Palliative Care, and Blood Collection.
“That’s why it’s so important that the patient is able to transition to a support program. Our Survivorship Clinic, along with the local Wellspring organization to which we also refer our cancer patients, can really help the person, their partner and family cope with the aftermath of cancer.”
“I remember one young woman who had two small children and was diagnosed with breast cancer,” continues Tommasa. “She told me that Osler’s Survivorship Clinic, and the Wellspring program had saved her life because they helped her deal with the mental health challenges that were impeding her recovery.”