New Series Fills Information Gap in Educational Resources for Cancer Survivors

Office of Education and Special Initiatives
National Cancer Institute
Last Modified: July 26, 2002

Office of Education and Special Initiatives
National Cancer Institute
National Institutes of Health

FOR RESPONSE TO INQUIRIES Kay Campbell, NOVA Research Company
6116 Executive Boulevard, Suite 202
Rockville, MD 20892
(301) 986-1891

For years, health professionals have provided literature to their patients at initial diagnosis and during treatment. But patients finishing cancer treatment have had little in the way of educational resources to support them in the next phase of their recovery. To fill this gap in resources, the NCI has created the Facing Forward Survivor Series, a new series of publications designed to help survivors cope with the challenges associated with life after cancer treatment.

"Research tells us that once treatment ends, survivors face a host of new issues for which they feel ill-prepared. Helping them to address these concerns is critical to optimal recovery," said Julia Rowland, Director of NCI's Office of Cancer Survivorship, created in 1996 to enhance survivors' quality of life through research and education. Rowland said that survivors are confronted by various questions about recovery and side effects such as pain and fatigue. Many are left wondering: "How do I get life back to 'normal'? What if my cancer comes back?"

The Facing Forward Survivor Series combines scientific information from health professionals with personal anecdotes from cancer survivors. Life After Cancer Treatment, the first book in the Series, covers areas such as medical care, potential physical changes, mental health, changes in social relationships, and workplace issues.

Life After Cancer Treatment also includes coping tips, such as stress-reducing relaxation exercises, information about support groups, ways to manage side effects, and a comprehensive list of resources. This book is an expanded version of NCI's 1990 publication, Facing Forward. Cancer survivors who have read Life After Cancer Treatment have remarked how reading the book made them feel that others had "been there" and understood their experience. As one survivor said, "The book put many of my fears to rest. I wish that I had this when I finished treatment. ? It's good to know that things are not just in your head."

Siga adelante: la vida después del tratamiento del cáncer is a Spanish version of Life After Cancer Treatment that highlights issues relevant to Latinos, such as effective communication during follow-up care and the use of alternative medicines.

"In addition to a need for information, many survivors-including those who have helped someone through cancer treatment-describe how taking personal action in the face of cancer can bring meaning to their cancer experience," said Rowland. To address the desire of many to "give back" after treatment, NCI has produced Ways You Can Make a Difference in Cancer. This book, the second in the Series, discusses the potential benefits of becoming involved in cancer-related activities such as leading a support group or national advocacy.

The Facing Forward Survivor Series resulted from the recommendations of cancer survivors, health professionals, and cancer service organizations made during focus groups on the needs of survivors leaving treatment. Additional Series components for health professionals and survivors' family members are currently under development.

Free copies of the books in the Facing Forward Survivor Series may be ordered now by calling 1-800-4-CANCER or visiting