Whether you call it a “moonshot,” as the Obama Administration refers to its ramped-up investment in cancer research, or you call it a “war,” the unfortunate term chosen by the Nixon Administration, the multifaceted national effort to better understand and treat cancer has made progress.
No one would argue the effort has progressed far or fast enough, but cancer incidence is on the decline and more people are living longer and fuller lives after their cancer diagnosis — a diagnosis that was once tantamount to a death sentence.
“Survivorship” is the popular term for a wide range of care and support strategies intended to maximize quality of life during and after cancer treatment, whether the treatment ultimately proves successful or not. The Stanford Cancer Institute has initiated an integrated Cancer Survivorship Program that coordinates multiple patient and family support services to deliver individualized care to every cancer patient at Stanford.
“The goal of the program is to enhance the physical and emotional wellbeing of cancer patients and their families by advancing the science and delivery of cancer care,” said Lidia Schapira, MD, the program’s inaugural director and an associate professor of oncology. “We are thinking about the transition from cancer treatment back to normal life, or a ‘new normal,’ and it is not the same for everybody.”
Schapira specializes in breast cancer treatment and the study of psycho-social issues related to cancer and was recruited from Harvard to lead the SCI’s vital new program. She is profiled in the Winter 2017 edition (link to pdf) of SCI News, the institute’s community newsletter, which describes plans for the program.