Rose Gerber Discusses Cancer Survivorship's Lifelong Side Effects
As a cancer survivor, Rose Gerber, director of patient advocacy for the Community Oncology Alliance, is personally aware of the many long-term issues that can arise during survivorship. These can include physical effects like bone health and emotional issues like the fear of recurrence.
Transcript (slightly modified) What are the challenges with survivorship that patients are not always prepared for?
I think there’s different levels of concerns when you’re a cancer survivor. Some of them are the actual physical issues that can arise. I am a 14-year cancer survivor and I certainly faced a lot of long-term issues, whether it’s bone health, fear of recurrence, just so many issues, and of course there’s always emotional issues.
I think that when a cancer patient finishes a primary treatment, it’s a well-known fact that there’s going to be a lot of emotional issues, but what people may not understand unless they’re cancer survivors themselves is that these issues can continue on for as long as you’re alive.
In my case, I was diagnosed at an early age, so I’m very grateful to be a survivor, but at the same time, because I was diagnosed early, I have many years in front of me where I am dealing with physical and emotional side effects of survivorship.