NCCN Guidelines for Patients™: Colon Cancer
Part 7: A step-by-step treatment guide
7.8 Survivorship care plan
The time period from diagnosis through treatment can be very busy. Afterward, you
may wonder what to do. Besides having follow-up tests, it is important to follow a
survivorship care plan. Talk with your doctor about making a plan together. The
NCCN Guidelines Panel suggests the following as part of your plan:
• Get exams and tests of your general health. After going through treatment for
cancer, it may be hard to think about taking care of “less important” issues.
However, your general health can have a big impact on your well-being.
• Take steps to prevent other diseases. Such steps can include getting
immunization shots and screening tests for other cancers.
• Months after treatment, you may still develop problems from the colon cancer or
its treatment. Tell your doctor if any new symptoms appear.
• Start or keep a healthy lifestyle. There is proof that healthy behaviors can
improve your treatment results. If you are a smoker, see your doctor for help to
stop. Your doctor may also be able to help you achieve a healthy body weight.
Regular exercise and healthy foods may also improve treatment results.
• You are encouraged to have a primary care doctor throughout your life. Share
your survivorship care plan with your primary doctor. Your cancer doctors should
also tell your primary doctor about your prognosis, treatments, recovery time,
lasting side effects, possible new side effects, and suggested follow-up tests.
• General health tests,
• Prevention of other diseases,
• Tests for late onset of symptoms of colon cancer or its treatment,
• Healthy lifestyle, and
• Transfer of care back to primary doctor