Why you and your cancer care team are like the Patriots (or Giants)

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The Super Bowl this weekend is the result of a lot of training and planning (and luck) on the part of the two competing teams. Players have to know their roles and everyone needs to work to the same game plan — and be ready to change tactics in an instant.

In the same way, the specialists overseeing your cancer treatment and long-term care have their own areas of expertise, and you’re an important player on the team. Here’s why:

Know your team
Medical oncologists call the plays, determining the best options for treatment and guiding the care team. They work closely with radiation oncologists and surgical oncologists, ensuring that you get the best care, at each step in your treatment plan. Learn about the important players on your cancer care team.

Know your game plan
But when you’re finished with all of your treatment regimens, oncologist appointments, and follow ups, what’s next?

Here’s where you make the call: Ask for an end-of-treatment summary. This is a document that maps out what you and your doctors already know, summarizing your cancer diagnosis and the steps included in your treatment. This information is important because it can help your primary care physician understand your medical history and better map out a plan for the future. Dana-Farber has created a Survivorship Toolkit (PDF) to guide you through the steps.

Avoid incomplete passes
Since your oncologist won’t be regularly involved in your health care once treatment is over, it’s important to bring your primary care doctor up to speed on any follow-up tests or potential long-term side effects that may arise in the future. This will form the basis of your care plan going forward. Learn more about setting up a care plan after cancer treatment.

Focus on the end zone
Making healthy changes in the way you eat, exercise, and live your life won’t necessarily prevent your cancer from coming back, but it can help you feel better and may also lower your chances of developing other health problems in the future. Find out more about creating a wellness plan that works for you.

Do you have a game plan for wellness after treatment? Tell us in the comments!

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