At Memorial Sloan Kettering, it’s one of our priorities to continue to check in with you once your active treatments are over to be sure you’re healing well and managing any side effects of your treatment, and to watch for any signs that your cancer is back. We offer comprehensive follow-up care for people who’ve 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. The disease and its treatment can cause side effects, and there is a possibility that new tumors could develop after treatment. Our Lung Cancer Survivorship Program is designed to provide you with 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 have the cancer come back. Lung cancer survivors are also more likely than those who have never had the disease to develop a second primary lung cancer — 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 that the cancer has returned (recurred). We’ll also help you to manage any side effects that might result from your treatment. We offer a variety of supportive services 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.
A nurse practitioner who specializes in the care of lung cancer survivors will provide your follow-up care. In addition to monitoring for signs of cancer recurrence, he or she will focus on identifying, preventing, and controlling any long-term and late effects associated with your 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 (both physical and psychological)
- discuss methods to prevent new health problems and make health recommendations related to nutrition, exercise, and quitting tobacco use
- recommend appropriate cancer screening
He or 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, your 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.