Moffitt Cancer Center addresses many of the common cancer concerns that countless survivors share, which we’ve broken into two sections: long term effects/concerns and late effects/concerns.
Long-term cancer concerns & effects: These problems develop during treatment. Some fade with time and go away, while some may persist or lessen in severity over time. Along with hosting interventions, Moffitt employs experts who are successful in treating these problems or helping patients adjust to these changes in their body.
The following bullet points list two of the most common physical changes patients might experience:
• Some bodily changes are permanent such as those incurred after surgery (loss of limb, urinary troubles or a stoma).
• Some chemotherapies or radiation treatments may lead to chronic inflammation or pain. The Pain/Palliative Program has oral and topical pain management and interventional pain management experts.
Late cancer concerns & effects are not apparent during treatment, but can surface or become apparent years after treatment has ended. Part of surveillance is to identify these problems earlier when they are easier to treat and may have the best outcomes. The following are frequent causes of both physical and emotional late cancer effects:
• Some chemotherapies or radiation may cause heart damage or lung disease.
• Some patients develop lymphedema (swelling in a limb due to blockage of the lymph system). Symptoms may show up soon after surgery or come years later. Moffitt’s lymphedema clinic - within the physical therapy department – employs experts who have interventions to resolve or minimize this problem.
• Some hormonal therapies (prevention for recurrence) or steroids may lead to osteoporosis in patients. As part of prevention and surveillance, bone densities or DEXA scans are monitored so medications and life style behaviors can treat this problem. We also may give referrals to our Endocrinology Program with expertise in this area.
• Depression can be a problem for cancer patients. It may be apparent during treatment or may not be a problem until years later. Our psychologists and psychiatrists have interventions or medications to assist with this.
• Second cancers can be a consequence of cancer treatment, such as skin cancer from radiation or leukemia from chemotherapies. Some patients may have a family history, environmental exposure or genetic mutation and may develop a new primary cancer that is unrelated to their previous cancer. As part of a Survivorship care plan, cancer screenings are conducted to monitor for this.
Alleviating and treating common cancer concerns is a huge part of the Survivorship Program. Contact Moffitt today to learn more about dealing with the aforementioned concerns or any other fears you might have.