Survivors are people diagnosed with cancer who are living with, through, or beyond cancer. The legal, financial, physical, and emotional challenges faced by cancer survivors and their families do not stop when the disease process changes or disappears

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What exactly is Survivorship?

The National Cancer Institute (NCI) defines cancer survivorship as the focus on the health and life of a person with cancer post treatment until the end of life. It covers the physical, psychosocial, and economic issues of cancer, beyond the diagnosis and treatment phases. Survivorship includes issues related to the ability to get health care and follow-up treatment, late effects of treatment, second cancers, and quality of life. Family members, friends, and caregivers are also considered part of the survivorship experience.

What is Palliative Care?

Palliative Care (according to the NCI definition) is given to improve the quality of life of patients who have a serious or life-threatening disease. The goal of palliative care is to prevent or treat as early as possible the symptoms of a disease, side effects caused by treatment of a disease, and psychological, social, and spiritual problems related to a disease or its treatment. Also called comfort care, supportive care, and symptom management.

What is Hospice Care?

Hospice Care (as defined by NCI) is a special type of care in which medical, psychological, and spiritual support are provided to patients and their loved ones when cancer therapies are no longer controlling the disease. Hospice care focuses on controlling pain and other symptoms of illness so patients can remain as comfortable as possible near the end of life. Hospice focuses on caring, not curing. The goal is to neither hasten nor postpone death. If the patient’s condition improves or the cancer goes into remission, hospice care can be discontinued and active treatment may resume. Choosing hospice care doesn’t mean giving up. It just means that the goal of treatment has changed.

A Population in Need

According to the Lance Armstrong Foundation, there are more than 10.8 million cancer survivors living in the United States today. Of these, 2.4 million were diagnosed with female breast cancer, 2 million were diagnosed with prostate cancer, and 1.1 million were diagnosed with colorectal cancer. Approximately 628,339 (6 percent of the 10.8 million) Americans diagnosed with cancer were longer-term survivors diagnosed at least 29 years earlier. If you adjust this number for Virginia’s population and assume that there is equal variance across the U.S. population, then there are an expected 265,000 cancer survivors in Virginia.

  • This is 3.5% of the total population
  • This suggests that, in Virginia, there are:
  • 60,600 survivors of breast cancer
  • 50,500 survivors of prostate cancer
  • 27,800 survivors of colorectal cancer
  • 126,100 survivors of other cancers

Common Side Effects of Treatment

For a list of symptoms and available resources for cancer survivors of the following types, simply click on the name of the cancer type:

Breast Prostate



Establishing a Care Plan

OncoLink has created an individualized plan of care based on the Institute of Medicine recommendations for cancer survivors. This free and easy to use program provides cancer survivors with information regarding the health risks they face as a result of cancer therapies. It encourages them to review the plan with their healthcare team to further assess their risk and become active participants in their follow up care. To establish your own personal care plan, go to Click on “Develop My Plan of Care.”

Practical Resources

Continuing Education

The National Cancer Survivorship Resource Center has created The Cancer Survivorship E-Learning Series as a forum to educate primary care providers who may have patients who are cancer survivors about how to better understand and care for survivors in a primary care setting. Continuing educations credits (CEs) are available at no cost to participants for each 1-hour module.


The Patient Advocate Foundation (PAF) has developed a National Financial Resources Guidebook for Patients. The financial resources available for each state, as documented by the PAF, can be found at the following website: PAF Guidebook. Once you get to the main page, just select the state your interested in and hit “Go.”

There are several disability insurance solutions for cancer patients no longer able to work as they did before. For more information on this topic, visit the following article: Cancer and Disability.

LINC, a non-profit, community-based organization, provides information, education, counseling and referral services for legal assistance to individuals confronted with the overwhelming issues that arise from the diagnosis and treatment of cancer. You can reach their website by clicking here: LINC.


The University of Virginia Cancer Center has constructed a helpful tutorial that includes frequently asked questions about cancer and nutrition, information on cancer prevention, and a listing of additional nutritional resources. It can be found at the following website: UVA Nutrition.

The American Cancer Society has a large collection of information regarding cancer and nutrition. It can be found at the following website: ACS.

Finding Help
For a list of available health professionals in your area, use the following websites:

Virginia Board of Medicine
  • Listing a last name is not necessary
  • Select your city/county and click “Search”
Virginia Board of Psychology
  • “License Lookup” on the left-hand side of the page
  • If you’d like, you can select a certain specialty of the treatment provider under “Occupation”
    For example, in searching for a psychologist, you would select “Clinical Psychologist”
  • Under “State”, select Virginia
  • Enter your zip code
  • Under “Status”, select “Current Licensees”
  • Click on “Search”

For a list of available support groups in Virginia, see the following:

  • At this website you can find information about online support groups as well as face-to-face support groups.
Planet Cancer  
For a list of some nation-wide support groups, see the following:

Resources in Virginia

Hospitals in Virginia that have established survivorship programs or provide survivorship resources:

VCU - Massey Cancer Center

Currently, this program is limited to breast cancer survivors


Click on “Find Healthcare Services” in the top left of the page

Bon Secours Richmond Health System Find a facility nearest to you on our website
Buchanan General Hospital

Slate Creek Road
Grundy, Virginia 24614
(276) 935-1000

Riverside Walter Reed Hospital

7519 Hospital Drive
Gloucester, VA 2306
(804) 693-8800

Lewis Gale Medical Center

1900 Electric Road
Salem, VA 24153
(540) 776.4000

Johnston Memorial Cancer Center

351 Court Street NE
Abingdon, Virginia 24210
(276) 676-7000

Bath Community Hospital

Drawer Z
Hot Springs, VA 24445
(540) 839-7059

Virginia Hospital Center – Cancer Center

1701 N. George Mason Drive
Arlington, VA 22205
(703) 558-5000

National Resources

Lance Armstrong Foundation

National Coalition for Cancer Survivorship

American Cancer Society

National Cancer Institute: Office of Cancer Survivorship

Cancer Hope Network

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