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OncoLife: Web-based Cancer Survivorship Care Plan
July 17, 2007, Volume 54, No. 1

A team of cancer specialists from OncoLink.org, the award-winning cancer web-based resource of the Abramson Cancer Center of the University of Pennsylvania, has launched OncoLife, the first and only individualized plan-of-care based on the National Institute of Medicine’s recommendations for adult cancer survivors. Free and easy to use, the new program–available in Spanish–provides cancer survivors with information regarding the health risks they face as a result of cancer therapies, as well as a defined plan of action to maintain their health once they are out of treatment.

“The good news for cancer survivors is that their numbers are growing,” said Dr. James Metz, a radiation oncologist and editor-in-chief of OncoLink. “Thanks to more successful cancer therapies, an estimated 10 million survivors are living in the U.S. today. Unfortunately, cancer treatments are not without consequences and many of these survivors are dealing with the long-term effects of treatments with little or no guidance.”

The OncoLife program, written for survivors of adult cancer, is a simple on-line questionnaire that patients, or their caregivers, can complete.

First, survivors go to the OncoLink homepage, www.oncolink.org and click on the link for the OncoLife page.
Next, patients anonymously answer a few demographic questions and seven disease-specific questions, such as type of cancer, treatment, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and surgery.

Once the questions are answered and submitted, OncoLife produces a personalized, comprehensive long-term survivorship care plan for free.

Participants are encouraged to review their personalized plan with their health care team–primary care physicians, gynecologists, cardiologists–to further assess their risk and become active participants in their own follow-up care.

“We were getting an increasing number of e-mails at OncoLink from cancer patients all over the world asking basically the same thing:  ‘Is what’s happening to me a result of my cancer treatment?’,” said Carolyn Vachani, oncology nurse educator and creator of OncoLife. “Often, their own oncologists would tell them, ‘No, it wasn’t.’ So, as more and more questions about long-term survivorship came flooding in, we realized how many people didn’t have reliable health care resources to help them chart a survivorship plan. We knew we had to help and we knew we had to create a plan that anyone could access.”

Almanac - July 17, 2007, Volume 54, No. 1