Cancer Survivor's History and Physical

South Med J. 2017 Jan;110(1):37-44. doi: 10.14423/SMJ.0000000000000585.


The number of cancer survivors is estimated by 2022 to increase to almost 18 million, in part because of improvements in earlier detection and cancer therapies, leading to longer-term survival of cancer patients. This growing number of survivors has presented challenges to the healthcare community, one of which is the need to provide to the survivor a seamless transition from the oncologist to the primary care provider (PCP). A major national initiative is under way for oncologists to provide survivorship care plans to their patients and PCPs, with the aim of communicating a complete record of cancer treatment and guiding the PCP in the future care of these cancer survivors. In caring for cancer survivors, PCPs must be familiar with the long-term and late effects, both medical and psychosocial, that are associated with common cancer treatments as well as the oncologic diagnosis itself. This article provides a unique approach to the traditional history and physical of easing the transition to primary care after completing cancer therapy for the cancer survivor. The cancer survivor-focused history and physical provide the PCP with a familiar and efficient method to clinically evaluate cancer survivors that closes the gap in this important transition of care.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Continuity of Patient Care
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Long-Term Care / methods
  • Male
  • Medical History Taking* / methods
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasms / therapy*
  • Physical Examination* / methods
  • Primary Health Care / methods
  • Survivors*