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Living beyond cancer treatment

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More than 330,000 people in the UK are diagnosed with cancer every year. By 2020, it is forecast that almost one in two people will develop cancer, but almost four in 10 people with cancer will survive.1 For many, there are enduring consequences of their cancer and its treatment, including physical, practical, emotional and psychological issues.

The term 'cancer survivorship' refers to someone living with and beyond a cancer diagnosis. Previously, it could have been said that the focus was on treatment and care solely related to the likelihood of the success in ridding the person of the cancer. In recent years the focus of care has also encompassed later effects of treatment; how people manage post-treatment; and how we can support them as they return to their lives.2

Although the term and concept of cancer survivors is relatively new, there appears to be an emerging recognition and body of knowledge in this area.3

Treatments for cancer are becoming more successful and mortality rates are reducing, thus there is an increasing pool of people in the community who have completed cancer treatment and may be experiencing long-term therapy effects. These people, along with those living with active disease, are termed 'cancer survivors'.

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