Newswise — About 1.6 million Americans are expected to be diagnosed with cancer this year. It is a frightening statistic. However, the good news is that more people are surviving cancer these days because they are being diagnosed and treated much earlier.
“The completion of cancer treatment signifies a time of change and it’s important for patients to have the resources to help them adjust to a new way of life,” says Jill Johnson, certified nurse practitioner.
While each cancer survivor’s journey is different, there are common physical and emotional side effects, such as fatigue, depression and other chronic medical conditions. Survivors also face a significant risk of the cancer coming back or developing a new type of cancer. For this reason, Johnson says it is important for patients to have an additional support team available to address questions or concerns.
Survivors also contend with the reality that the very treatments used to treat their cancer may have long-term health effects. These may include damage to vital organs, such as the heart, lungs or kidneys; pain, numbness, tingling, or loss of sensation; and infertility. Some of these adverse effects may only become apparent many years later.
“Cancer is a life-changing experience. Often patients deal with anxiety, depression, and feelings of isolation. All of these symptoms are similar to post-traumatic stress,” says Johnson.
Jill Johnson, MSN, FNP-BC, has been a board-certified nurse practitioner for the past 10 years and in the nursing profession for over 36 years. She received her nursing degree from the Toledo Hospital School of nursing in Toledo, Ohio, a Bachelor of Education in Health Care Supervision, and a Masters of Public Administration in Health Care Administration from the University of Toledo in Toledo, Ohio. She also received her Master of Science in Nursing/Family Nurse Practitioner from the University of Toledo Medical Center in Toledo, Ohio. Johnson is a member of the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners, the Ohio Association of Nurse Practitioners, and the Oncology Nurses Society. For more information, visit www.promedica.org.