Advances in cancer treatment in the United States have translated to an estimated 18 million cancer survivors. Yet after months, and sometimes years of treatment, next steps for cancer survivors pose new challenges for survivors and their healthcare providers. At NorthShore University HealthSystem we know that the end of treatment is not the end of the cancer experience. Our Myra Rubenstein Weis (MRW) Living in the Future (LIFE) Cancer Survivorship Program helps to ensure the long-term health and quality-of-life for cancer survivors.
About the MRW LIFE Program
NorthShore's MRW LIFE Cancer Survivorship Program creates a bridge for continued care for cancer survivors who have completed treatment. The program assists survivors in the transition from the oncology specialty care environment back to their communities, families and the primary care settings, while maintaining a connection with their oncology team. Uniquely designed by its program director Carol A. Rosenberg MD, FACP, Director of NorthShore's Preventive Health Initiatives, LIFE was the first community cancer survivorship program in the region to adhere to the guidelines proposed by the Commission on Cancer. The LIFE program, implemented in part through a Livestrong Foundation Community Cancer Survivorship Program Grant and sustained with generous funding from the Myra Rubenstein Weis Health Resource Center was the first program of its type in the Northern Lake/Cook County area.
Survivorship Care Plan
The LIFE Program features a personal risk adapted visit with Anisha Patel, MSN, RN, APN, OCN, a specialized advanced practice oncology nurse in the Kellogg Cancer Center. Available face to face in the Kellogg Cancer Center or virtually through NorthShore’s telehealth program, this encounter involves developing and discussing a customized Survivorship Care Plan tailored to each cancer survivor as a unique individual. During the visit, patients receive information regarding their cancer diagnostic and treatment summary, follow-up and surveillance guidelines, long-term and late-effects of cancer treatments and healthy lifestyle practice recommendations. Additionally, the program provides directed navigation to health professional services and survivorship resources at the time of the visit. Importantly, individualized consultation referrals are available for primary care, genetics, rehabilitation medicine integrative medicine oncology nutritional services, cardio-oncology, psychosocial services and smoking cessation. Integrated into NorthShore’s electronic medical record system, the Survivorship Care Plan Program can easily be accessed via our patient portal: NorthShoreConnect.
An important aspect of the LIFE program is the Myra Rubenstein Weis Survivorship 101 Seminars: Thrivership! These educational workshops are available to the community at-large and are free of charge. Taught by NorthShore’s health professional survivorship experts, the seminars cover major topics regarding cancer survivorship and promote the acquisition of skills to understand, select and navigate community-based survivor resources. The topics in the series, including nutrition, fitness, self-esteem, sexual intimacy, cognitive function, genetics, rehabilitation, insurance and employment, have a focus on the survivorship perspective. The “Evening of Survivorship Programs” are held in-person and virtually at NorthShore hospitals and through Northshore’s Health Professional Expert Speakers’ Collaborative with the Cancer Wellness Center and other regional venues. The seminars may also be presented during NorthShore’s cancer support groups.
For More Information
If you have had cancer, ask your oncologist for a referral to the LIFE Program, or please call 847.926.5818 with any questions or for more information.