Optimizing your survivorship

8 Steps to better balance

Survivorship begins with diagnosis and extends through the balance of life.  It stresses the importance of supporting of one’s physical, psychological, spiritual, and social needs during and beyond cancer.

“Anything that has changed because of your cancer diagnosis or your treatment is a symptom of your disease,” said Teresa Wittenberg, MS, PAC, GI Oncology Stanford University. “So these start to include all these other aspects of your life: employment concerns, fear of uncertainty, fear of the unknown, relationships with others whether that is your spouse, your caregiver, your children, your coworkers,  or your friends.”

Following a NET diagnosis, remember to take good care of yourself.

Be kind to yourself. Give yourself and your loved ones time to process and heal.

Build strength and stamina with an activity plan

Get the proper amount of sleep and nutrition

Attend outreach events

Get educated

Participate in research

Get involved

Connect with others

Wittenberg discusses the importance of improving quality of life for NET patients in small increments in her talk at the NETRF Bay Area Patient Education Conference.  “I have patients struggling with isolation who have diarrhea and can’t get to work or go out with friends.  So we have to focus on making things just a little better, even if we can’t resolve it completely. Improvements mean something.”

Self-care and symptom management are key components of a survivorship care plan.  Care teams should provide patients completing primary cancer treatment with a survivorship care plan according to recommendations by the Institute of Medicine.   A survivorship care plan documents a patient’s diagnosis and treatment, but also provides a roadmap for meeting ongoing psychological, physical, and social needs.

Learn more about survivorship topics