For Survivors

Today, nearly one million Australians are adult cancer survivors, with that number increasing every year, whilst 80% of children diagnosed with cancer will survive long term. While these are ‘good news’ stories of cancer, cancer survivorship presents its own unique challenges

 

couple in park

As a cancer survivor, you are a large and growing proportion of our community who have unique health needs following your overcoming of this disease. As you may be well aware, after cancer treatment ends, survivors can experience a wide range of physical and psychological challenges. These can include:

  • Fatigue
  • Cognitive changes (‘chemobrain’ or ‘brain fog’)
  • Body image issues
  • Sexual and fertility problems
  • Worry about the cancer returning
  • Risk of a new cancer
  • Maintaining a healthy lifestyle
  • Problems returning to work or study

 

Survivors of Adult Cancer

We will develop an individualised care plan, providing advice about:

  • Your risk of common side effects of treatment, and what monitoring tests should be done, when and by whom;
  • Lifestyle changes (such as exercise therapy or quitting smoking) and services that may help prevent or manage any health issues;
  • Psychosocial and/or practical support that will help you manage normal daily living, achieve optimal functioning, and feel in control;
  • Participating in research studies to guide development of better treatment and prevention approaches.

 

Survivors of Childhood Cancer

The Long-Term Follow Up Clinic at Sydney Children’s Hospital is a multi-disciplinary clinic offering survivors follow up care far beyond their childhood years. This long-term follow up benefits survivors by providing you with health education, cancer screening and risk-reducing health interventions.

The knowledge gained from this service also allows clinicians to identify factors associated with adverse health outcomes and to modify cancer therapies to minimise the risk of long-term side effects.

In this section you will find practical information about the services we offer at the National Centre for Cancer Survivorship (NCCS), factsheets to help in managing your health concerns and other useful resources.

Testimonials

"At first a felt a bit funny about talking to a lady about my problems after my cancer treatment, but my doctor is really nice and really understanding.  Plus she is an oncologist so she understands all the medical stuff that goes along with cancer treatment so I didn't have to explain things to her the way I did to my GP.  I felt like she really understood where I was coming from and gave me some good strategies to help with my issues.  And she wrote a care plan and sent a copy to my GP as well, so hopefully now when I go to see him he will feel like he is better able to treat me."

Anthony, prostate cancer survivor
"At 26 I was diagnosed with a rare form of ovarian cancer... having survived this (thanks to a great medical team), I ‘floundered’ for many years with the resulting impact of early menopause, fertility issues and general fatigue. Even worse, I felt extreme guilt that I should be able to overcome these issues easily as I survived when others didn’t, I really didn’t have the right to ever complain again. This impacted directly on my confidence, self esteem and identity. ……I am now 46, have 2 children, a partner, a career and a good life.  However, the struggle I had undergone, in pretty much isolation, has been hard.  Even friends and family who were great during treatment felt I should ‘just move on’.  The establishment of this centre is a great comfort as it shows there is now a greater awareness of cancer survivor issues to hopefully ensure better long term support for people who have had cancer."

Melinda, ovarian cancer survivor 
"I am aware of the National Centre for Cancer Survivorship and support them in their mission to find new and better ways to care for cancer survivors through research. With the high number of Australians now surviving cancer or living with ongoing cancer for many years, we need to better understand the health issues confronting this group and develop interventions to address their unique and often complex needs. As someone who has worked in the medical oncology setting for 20 years, I believe the National Centre for Cancer Survivorship is leading the way in this work."

Dr Elizabeth Hovey, MB BS FRACP MSC - Medical Oncologist, SESIAHS & UNSW, Prince of Wales Hospital
"As Director of the Kids Cancer Centre, Sydney Children’s Hospital and Professor of Paediatrics at the University of NSW, I have watched the development of the National Centre for Cancer Survivorship over the last few years. I strongly support the opportunity the Centre provides to bring together research focusing on survivors of childhood cancer with that focusing on adult survivors. In both areas it is clear that there are many unresolved challenges in understanding the health care needs of cancer survivors, and developing best practice interventions for both prevention and treatment of those problems. I believe wholeheartedly that the work that being undertaken through the Centre will benefit both kids and adult survivors people for many years to come."

Professor Glenn Marshall, AM, MB, BS, FRACP, MD Paediatric Haematologist & Oncologist, Director, Kids Cancer Centre, Sydney Children’s Hospital