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IndexChallengesFor Survivors5 Things Cancer Survivors Can DoAccess Your Treatment Records

Survivorship Callenges

As a childhood cancer survivor, you have been through a lot. You are wiser and stronger today than you were before diagnosis. Use that strength. Here’s how:

1. Gain access
Request a copy of your cancer treatment records from the hospital where you were treated. Your records should include: type and date of diagnosis, all treatments with doses, places and dates, key lab reports and x-rays, contact information for all providers in your treatment, post-treatment problems and supportive care. Keep a summary of your key facts in a safe place.
2. Get with the program
Lifelong follow-up care is essential to your long-term health. This care may be available at the hospital or clinic where you were treated, from a health care provider working in partnership with your treatment center or from your family doctor. You may live near a cancer clinic with a special follow-up program for survivors. Your follow-up care provider will check for “late effects,” or problems that can arise after cancer treatment. These can include heart trouble, a second cancer, fertility issues and/or growth problems. Not all survivors develop problems. But if they do occur, it’s important to catch them early, when they are easiest to treat.
3. Pass it on
Tell your family doctor, dentist and other health care providers about your cancer history. Give them a copy of your cancer treatment records and the name and phone number of your follow-up care provider. If a problem arises that is related to your cancer treatment, your health care providers can address the problem as a team.
4. Eat your veggies
Reduce your risk of developing a second cancer and other health problems by making good decisions about diet, exercise and other lifestyle habits. Avoid tobacco. Drink alcohol in moderation, if at all. Eat a variety of healthy foods, including whole grains and lots of fruits and vegetables. Be physically active. Maintain a healthy weight.
5. Hook up to help
Just as cancer affects the body, it can affect the way you feel as well. Common emotional problems after cancer include depression, anger, loneliness, anxiety about the cancer coming back and sex or dating issues. Some young adult survivors find emotional support from loved ones, other survivors or their faith. Others turn to counselors or self-help resources. The important thing is to pay attention to your feelings and get help if you need it.

Learn how to gain access to your cancer treatment records »

Find out about survivorship challenges and late effects »

Sources: National Cancer Institute and the Children’s Oncology Group

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