Developing a Survivorship Program


In the course of developing our survivorship program, there were a number of questions that we found it helpful to answer as part of the planning process. We believe the questions below may facilitate the development of successful survivorship program at other institutions.

  1. How does survivorship fit into the mission of the institution? Who will have oversight responsibility for the program? We suggest engaging the leaders of the institution when answering this question.
  2. What patient population do you envision will participate in your survivorship program? Knowing this information is important for developing the size and scope of the survivorship program.
  3. What services would patients like? To answer this question, we suggest conducting a needs assessment or holding a focus group with patients.
  4. What are the post-treatment programs that are feasible for your institution to provide? Examples include:
    • Medical follow-up care
    • Psychosocial services
    • Educational opportunities
    • Survivorship research
  5. What existing programs could be expanded to include post-treatment patients? Examples of programs and services include:
    • Support groups
    • Patient education seminars
    • Counseling
    • Complementary medicine
    • Physical rehabilitation
    • Sexual health
    • Nutrition services
    • Smoking cessation
    • Long-term follow-up care
  6. If you plan to offer medical follow-up care, reflect on the following: Which patient populations can you serve?
    • Pediatric
    • Young adult
    • Adult
    Who will the provider be?
    • Nurse practitioner
    • Oncologist
    • Physician assistant
    • Primary care physician
    • Multidisciplinary team
    Will the care be ongoing or a consult service? How will patients learn about survivorship services?
    • Referral from other healthcare practitioners
    • Recruit patients who were not treated at your institution