When Back in the Swing began in 2000, no clinical services for breast cancer survivors existed. This past August, 12 years later, the Commission on Cancer (CoC) of the American College of Surgeons (ACS) announced that a survivorship care plan will among the accreditation standards for hospital cancer programs. See the full press release at http://www.facs.org/news/2011/coc-standards0811.html.
"This means that access to comprehensive, clinical survivorship care will now be the expectation, not the exception, for breast cancer survivors across America," according to Barbara C. Unell, Founder and Director of Back in the Swing USA.
When we started ten years ago, personalized, comprehensive, post-treatment medical care for breast cancer survivors did not exist. Today, thanks to your help, Back in the Swing is more than Retail Therapy! In our first decade, we met our goal of establishing model programs of personalized medical care for Kansas City's breast cancer survivors in communities across America.
The CoC's new Standard 3.3, "Survivorship Care Plan", states that:
- A survivorship care plan is prepared by the principal provider(s) who coordinated the oncology treatment for the patient with input from the patients other care providers.
- The survivorship care plan is given to the patient on completion of treatment.
- The written or electronic survivorship care plan contains a record of care received, important disease characteristics, and a follow-up care plan incorporating available and recognized evidence-based standards of care, when available. The minimum care plan standards are included in the Fact Sheet: Cancer Survivorship Care Planning, from the IOM.
"The Commission's adoption of the new standard requiring that cancer survivors receive a comprehensive care summary and survivorship care plan means that the care we've established in Kansas City will now become a model for the nation," said Unell.
Back in the Swing is working with the Breast Cancer Survivorship Center and other partners to provide the education that will be needed in the coming years, as cancer centers focus on meeting the new standards. At the same time, the organization's new national book, The Back in the Swing Cookbook, will be published in Fall of 2012 to educate and encourage breast cancer survivors to access this new care in their own communities.
To learn more about Survivorship Care Plans, please visit http://backintheswing.org/Get-Back-In-The-Swing/What-is-a-Survivorship-Care-Plan.