Review Article

Cancer Survivor’s History and Physical

Authors: Alejandra C. Fuentes, MD, Jonathan E. Lambird, MD, Thomas J. George, MD, Merry Jennifer Markham, MD


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.

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