News & Events

Cancer Survivorship Symposium

The 2nd annual Cancer Survivorship Symposium: Advancing Care and Research was held on January 27-28, 2017. Members of the AYA Program joined over 600 individuals who came together with the common focus of improving care for cancer survivors.

A female researcher next to her posterDr. Susan Parsons was joined by 2016 Summer Scholar and Tufts University School of Medicine student Lauren Boehm (picture at right). They presented an abstract poster titled, Development of phase-specific breast cancer survivorship care plans (SCPs). The poster described the work that has been accomplished thanks to collaboration between members of the Tufts Cancer Center (Drs. Parsons, Erban, Linendoll and Rodday) and New England Cancer Specialists of Maine (Dr. Weisberg and Arlene O’Rourke, MSN). The team has worked to create survivorship care plan templates that provide a framework for patients and providers to monitor and manage a survivor’s long term health.

Topics discussed at the symposium included genetic findings in survivorship, community-based models of survivorship care, addressing gaps in survivorship health professional education, international models of survivorship care, and unique issues affecting adolescents and young adults.

The presentations dedicated to AYAs showcased challenges faced both during treatment and in survivorship. Presenters discussed gaps in research and clinical care for AYAs, suggesting part of the reason improvements in survival rates has not occurred, in some cancers, is related to AYAs not having access to, or participating in, clinical trials. Various factors that can create challenges for AYAs, in or out of treatment, were shared, including education, income, health insurance, access to health care and behavioral factors. The period following treatment was also deemed a challenge to providing care for AYAs as many survivors are not getting risked based care, adherence to recommended second cancer and cardiac testing has been low, and many institutions do not have the capacity to transition patients from pediatric to adult-focused providers and facilities (Dr. Tonorezos).