Survivorship care is a specific approach taken to address the long-term needs of cancer survivors and includes monitoring for and managing long-term and late effects, as well as health promotion.

The 2005 Institute of Medicine (IOM) report, From Cancer Patient to Cancer Survivor: Lost in Transition, embraces four components of survivorship care:

  1. Prevention and detection of new cancers and recurrent cancer;
  2. Surveillance for recurrence or new primaries;
  3. Interventions for long-term and late effects (hereafter referred to as late effects) from cancer and its therapies; and
  4. Coordination between specialists and primary care providers to ensure that all of the survivor’s needs are met.1

High-Quality Survivorship Care 

Specifically, high-quality care includes:

  • Surveillance for recurrence
  • Monitoring for and managing psychosocial and medical late effects
  • Providing screening recommendations for second cancers
  • Providing health education to survivors regarding their diagnoses, treatment exposures, and potential late- and long-term effects
  • Providing referrals to specialists and resources as indicated
  • Familial genetic risk assessment (as appropriate)
  • Guidance about diet, exercise, and health promotion activities
  • Providing  resources to assist with financial and insurance issues
  • Empowering survivors to advocate for their own healthcare needs

LIVESTRONG Essential Elements of Survivorship Care

In 2011, LIVESTRONG convened the Essential Elements of Survivorship Care Meeting, attended by over 150 community leaders, stakeholders, cancer survivors, and advocates, with a goal of building consensus around best practices to address the needs of post-treatment survivors. Consensus was reached on 20 essential elements of survivorship care delivery, which were organized into three tiers according to their level of priority.

Learn more about the LIVESTRONG Essential Elements of Survivorship Care. Levels #1 and #2 mirror the four IOM components of survivorship care.


1. Maria Hewitt, Sheldon Greenfield, and Ellen Stovall, (Eds). From Cancer Patient to Cancer Survivor: Lost in Transition. Committee on Cancer Survivorship: Improving Care and Quality of Life, Institute of Medicine and National Research Council. Accessed April 15, 2013.