In cancer, survivorship covers the physical, psychosocial and enconomic issues of cancer, from diagnosis until the end of life. It focuses on the health and life of a person with cancer beyond the diagnosis and treatment phases. Survivorship includes issues related to the ability to get health care and follow-up treatment, second cancers, and quality of life. Family members, friends, and caregivers are also part of the suvivorship experience.
The NCI (National Cancer Institute), in regards to the definition of "survivorship," also referes to an Institute of Medicine report from 2005 whose purpose was to raise awareness of the medical, functional, and psychosocial consequences of cancer and its treatement; define quality of health care for cancer survivors and identify strategies to achieve it; and improve that quality of life of cancer survivors through policies to ensure their access to psychosocial services, fair employment practices and health insurance.
The report identified three distinct stages of survival:
1. Acute Survival (living with cancer) - This stage begins with the diagnosis of cancer and includes the period of testing and treatment of cancer.
2. Extended Survival (intermediate, living through cancer) - This stage begins upon remission of the disease and conclusion of the initial tratment. This phase can include maintenance, consolidation or "watch-full waiting," and...
3. Permanent Survival (long-term, living beyond cancer) - Depending on the disease type this is the phase equated with "cure" or with long survival after remission.
NCI, The Institute of Medicine (2005)