Lung Cancer: Follow-Up Care

At Memorial Sloan Kettering, we are dedicated to helping lung cancer survivors live their lives to the fullest after treatment. We offer comprehensive follow-up care for people who have been treated here as part of our institution-wide Survivorship Initiative.

Our Lung Cancer Survivorship Program

People who have undergone treatment for lung cancer often have special needs. Lung cancer and its treatment can cause side effects, and there is a possibility that new tumors could develop after treatment. Memorial Sloan Kettering’s Lung Cancer Survivorship Program is designed to provide specialized care to address these concerns after your treatment ends.

Follow-up exams are especially important for people who have had small cell lung cancer. All patients with extensive-stage small cell lung cancer and the majority of patients with limited-stage small cell lung cancer experience a relapse, meaning that their cancer returns after primary therapy. Lung cancer survivors are also more likely than those who have never had the disease to develop a second primary lung cancer – one that is not a recurrence of the first tumor, but a new growth unrelated to the first.

After your treatment for lung cancer, the experts in our Lung Cancer Survivorship Program will monitor you for signs of cancer recurrence. We will also help you to manage any side effects that might result from your treatment. We also offer a variety of supportive service for people during and after treatment, including psychiatry, social work, integrative medicine, chaplaincy, and support groups. These services are staffed by healthcare professionals who specialize in caring for people with cancer.

Your follow-up care will be provided by a nurse practitioner who specializes in the care of lung cancer survivors. In addition to monitoring for signs of cancer recurrence, she focuses on identifying, preventing, and controlling any long-term and late effects associated with cancer and its treatment.

During a survivorship follow-up visit, the nurse practitioner will:

  • perform a physical exam and review your medical history
  • complete an assessment to detect recurrence of cancer
  • identify, evaluate, and manage any long-term or late effects of cancer and its treatment (physical and psychosocial)
  • discuss methods to prevent new health problems and make health promotion recommendations related to nutrition, exercise, and tobacco cessation
  • recommend appropriate cancer screening

She will work closely with your treatment team and will provide you, your primary care doctor, and any other medical care providers with a treatment summary and survivorship care plan. Your physicians can then incorporate this information into your overall medical plan.

After each follow-up visit, the nurse practitioner will continue to update your other medical providers.

Our clinicians focus on quality-of-life issues in lung cancer survivors, including shortness of breath and fatigue. Our multidisciplinary team is also exploring new ways to improve the lives of patients following treatment for lung cancer, including how exercise could help improve lung function.

Your Follow-Up Care Providers

Dyana Summer, RN, ANP
I am a nurse practitioner with special training in lung cancer survivorship issues. I graduated from Columbia University’s nurse practitioner program in 2006 and joined Memorial Sloan Kettering’s Thoracic Service in 2007.

Alison Berkowitz Hergianto, RN, ANP
I am a nurse practitioner with special training in lung cancer survivorship issues. I graduated from Columbia University’s nurse practitioner program in 2009 and joined Memorial Sloan Kettering’s Thoracic Service in 2010.