Tailored Cancer Treatment Plans May Be Latest Trend

Personalized care plans will provide doctors and hospitals better understanding of cancer patients' past treatment, and what future treatments they should consider. These written care plans will help cancer patients navigate life. Philly.com reports:

Four decades after President Richard Nixon signed the National Cancer Act declaring war on cancer, there are 14 million cancer survivors in America - a number expected to climb to between 18 million and 20 million over the next decade.

"Much of the focus for years has been, 'Let's just get them to survive,' " said James Metz, vice chairman of radiation oncology at the University of Pennsylvania's Abramson Cancer Center.

"Many survivors are now kind of like, 'What's next?' It has become a big issue."

What's next are what's called personalized care plans - basically written summaries, quite detailed but in plain English, of patients' past treatment and what they should look for in the future. In other words, a single document designed to help survivors navigate life after cancer.

Doctors and hospitals are turning their attention to developing the plans, spurred on by a mandate from the Commission on Cancer that accredited cancer centers must provide a survivor care plan to every patient beginning Jan. 1, 2015.

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