Survivorship FAQs

  1. Who is considered a survivor?
  2. Does the Cancer Survivorship team communicate to my primary care provider?
  3. What is the goal of the Cancer Survivorship Clinic?
  4. What are long-term and late effects?
  5. How do I know if I or my family is at increased risk for cancer?
  6. Is the Cancer Survivorship Clinic right for me?
  7. How do I make an appointment in the Cancer Survivorship Clinic?
  8. Will insurance cover a visit in the Cancer Survivorship Clinic?
  9. What if I have a question or concern that is not answered here?


1.  Who is considered a survivor?

Different organizations define the term cancer survivor differently. According to the National Cancer Institute (NCI) and the National Coalition for Cancer Survivorship  (NCCS), an individual is considered a cancer survivor from the time of diagnosis, through the balance of his or her life. Family members, friends, and caregivers are also impacted by the survivorship experience and are therefore included in this definition. 

2.  Does the Cancer Survivorship team communicate to my primary care provider?

Communicating with the survivor's primary care provider is an important part of the services we offer in the Cancer Survivorship Clinic . It is important for your primary care provider to be aware of the cancer care you received and long term follow up plan for the purpose of maintaining continuity of care.

A consultation in the clinic is followed by a letter to your primary care provider summarizing your cancer treatment and follow-up recommendations. Some long term or late side effects are unique to cancer survivors and the Survivorship Care Plan provides detailed information to help your provider better assess if new medical conditions that arise for you may be related to your past cancer care. 

Back to Top ]

3.  What is the goal of the Cancer Survivorship Clinic?

Our goal is to help our patients develop medical independence, improve quality of life and maintain a healthy lifestyle. 

4. What are long-term and late effects?

Long-term effects
are side effects that begin during cancer treatment and continue on after your treatment is completed. Many long-term effects improve or even go away over time, such as cancer related fatigue, pain, anemia and anxiety. Some long-term effects may be permanent such as nerve damage.

Late effects are after effects that are delayed and may appear months and even years after your treatment is completed. Some examples of late effects are second cancers, lymphedema, thyroid problems, osteoporosis, and heart and lung disease. When these problems are found early, they are easier to treat. 

Back to Top ]

5. How do I know if my family and I are at is at increased risk for cancer?  Would I benefit from a Hereditary Cancer Risk Consultation?

Up to 10 percent of all cancers are related to inherited factors. Cancers are the result of genetic (DNA) errors. Most of these errors accumulate over time in single cells, eventually resulting in the change of a normal cell to a cancerous state. Some types of DNA errors are inherited. They exist in all of the body's cells and can lead to an increased risk of developing cancer. 

A specially trained registered nurse practitioner is available for consultation to patients and families to discuss inherited cancer risk, testing and prevention. 

6. Is the Cancer Survivorship Clinic right for me?

The Cancer Survivorship Clinic  is a consultation service ideally suited for individuals who have finished treatment and want to take action in their future health.  It is available to any patient who received care at Virginia Mason locations throughout the region. The clinic is now open to many individuals and their families coping with many types of cancer. See cancer types currently supported in the Cancer Survivorship Clinic. 

Back to Top  ]

7. How do I make an appointment in the Cancer Survivorship Clinic?
To make an appointment in the Cancer Survivorship Clinic, please call (206) 341-1243 or toll free (800) 354-9527.  More information about appointments and forms

8. Will insurance cover a visit in the Cancer Survivorship Clinic?
The consultation visit to our clinic is part of your comprehensive cancer care and is of no charge to you or your insurance company. 

9.  What if I have a question or concern that is not answered here?
Our team is available any time. If you have questions, concerns, or comments, please call us at (206) 341-1243 or toll-free at (800) 354-9527. If we are unavailable, please leave a message and we will return your call promptly.

Back to Top  ]