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Recover Survivorship Survivor Empowerment Plan

is a continuous and ongoing process rather than a stage or outcome of survival.  It is not just about a cure, your long-term survival or even living five years past your diagnosis. Instead, survivorship is the experience or process of living with, through and beyond cancer.

is not only knowing what after-treatment resources and support are available to you; it’s about taking charge of your , and building your competency for long-term self-management and self-care. Only then will you be empowered to live a strong, healthy and vibrant life.

Being empowered means fully understanding your own needs better than anyone else does and that it is in your best interest for you to lead your recovery from treatment, making informed decisions about what you must do to enhance your .

Empowerment as a is, at its essence, self-advocacy: You’re standing up for yourself in order to develop a plan of action with specific goals.

The physical, psychosocial and economic issues of your should be part of your action plan, based on your diagnosis and treatment.  Let’s call this your empowerment plan. Each ’s plan will be different, especially if you have metastatic versus being in recovery mode after treatment.

In both cases, there is a range of physical, psychosocial and economic issues that a deals with, and although for each person has a different meaning, it is still important to ensure your overall health and well-being. This includes getting the proper follow-up care and support needed to enhance the ’s .  

Each may have difficulty adjusting to and learning to live her life with uncertainty.  For survivors, there typically is no end to treatment, so their life expectancy may be their primary concern, which is why the term “” often is controversial in this community.

For non-  , fear of , the return of cancer, is a common emotion that they face after treatment ends. It may cause a to overinterpret the significance of minor physical pains or problems, or to become obsessive about the least little thing, worrying unnecessarily. 

If you’re having some about , you should discuss your feelings -- and your actual risk of -- with your doctor.  Although, for some survivors, a doctor visit also can be a source of anxiety in the beginning, maintaining a regular schedule of follow-up visits can provide a sense of control and will help ease those fears. 

To help overcome your fears and enhance your , you can develop a personalized empowerment plan.  Traditionally, it is known as a “ care plan,” which is a coordinated post-treatment plan between your oncologist, primary-care physician and other relevant healthcare professionals that make up your medical team. In the traditional care plan, your oncologist creates a summary of your treatment that includes the direction of future care.

A traditional care plan includes:

  1. A patient diagnosis and treatment summary
  2. The best schedule for follow-up tests
  3. Information on late- and long-term effects of breast cancer treatment
  4. A list of symptoms to look for
  5. A list of support resources
If you are not familiar with your plan and/or your oncologist has not created one for you, you can learn how in the :

Survivorship Toolkit

Once you’re up to speed on how to create your own care plan, you can access the program.  Before you begin, you can view the sample .

It is important, however to be aware that, traditionally, most care plans only focus on your medical care and follow-up. The other aspects of your , as outlined in the “Ten Dimensions of Wellness,” also need to be included. You can use r, , to develop a personal empowerment plan that integrates a more holistic approach to your recovery, helping you manage your and .

The following resources provide additional information to help you enhance your :

’s -


For more information on , go to and . You can share your knowledge and experience with other at or start a discussion in our .

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Breast Cancer Partner Events

September 29, 2012
'Pamper Me Pink' Breast Cancer Event, Floyd County, IN

September 22 – October 28, 2012
Shine Your Light Bright for the Cancer Fight, San Marcos, TX

September 29, 2012
Pink October Velvet Sessions with Bret Michaels, Hard Rock Hotel, Universal Orlando, Orlando, FL

September 30, October 3, 2012
American College of Lifestyle Medicine Conference – “Treating the Cause”, Orlando, FL

September 30, 2012
Prevent Cancer Foundation 5K Race, Washington, D.C.

October 3, 2012
The Beauty of Caring Event, San Francisco, CA

October 11, 2012
Cancer and Careers Online Event Legal & Insurance Issues to Consider

October 13 – 14, 2012
Lance Armstrong Foundation Live Long Run, Walk, Ride Event, Hallandale Beach, FL

October20, 2012
SASS Foundation 18th Annual Breast Cancer Awareness Day, Uniondale, NY

October 27 – 30
AACR Cancer Health Disparities Conference, San Diego, CA

November 15, 2012
Cancer and Careers Online Event Re-Entering the Workforce After Short & Long Absences


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