Phases of Survivorship

What is Survivorship? 

The word survivorship or cancer “survivor” is often used to describe an individual at any stage of their cancer diagnosis. Survivorship focuses on your physical, mental, social, and financial health. The goal is to help individuals identify and navigate the changes and oftentimes challenges that come with a cancer diagnosis. While some individuals may identify with the term “survivor," others may not.  

Stages of Survivorship 

There are various stages of survivorship including:  

  • Active treatment (diagnosis, surgery, chemotherapy, radiation, etc.) 

    • A cancer care team will closely follow you to watch for any side effects or health issues that arise from treatment. 

  • After primary treatments are completed 

    • You will continue to have follow-up care done at regular intervals. 

  • Long-term survivorship  

    • Managing any long-term effects of cancer as well as continued screenings for any malignancy 

When treatment is complete, it is common to feel a mix of emotions including happiness, relief, nervousness, and/or anxiety. Communication with your care team regarding these complex emotions can help you obtain the support you need as you transition into a different phase of survivorship. 

Pro Tip: Our Iris Mental Health team is available to provide support during any stage of your cancer treatment. Schedule your appointment today to meet with one of our clinicians.

What to Expect from Your Care Team 

You may receive a survivorship plan that includes things like your diagnosis, treatments, provider names, follow-up plan, etc. If this is not available at your cancer center, it may be helpful to ask your team for a letter with the above information. This will be a helpful tool if you ever need to transition your care to another provider. 

Your survivorship care may be managed by your oncology team or a preferred provider like your PCP. Your team will work with you to find the best plan to meet your needs. 

Good to Know: Keeping up with your scheduled appointments is an important part of your care (whether you are on active treatment or not). These appointments help to monitor your physical wellbeing for side effects, recurrence, and more while also ensuring continued emotional and psychological support. 

If you would like more information regarding survivorship, our Iris Team can 

  • Explain the various stages of survivorship 

  • Answer questions regarding your care and treatment plan 

  • Make recommendations based on your specific needs 

Iris nurses are available 24/7 to answer any questions you may have.