Key Terms for Cancer Survivors

As a cancer survivor who is now entering post-treatment survivorship care, it may help for you to be aware of these common terms and references:

Survivor and Survivorship: You are considered a survivor as soon as you are diagnosed with cancer. You will continue to be a survivor during and after cancer treatment, and throughout the rest of your life.

Surveillance: This routine part of survivorship care refers to checking for any return of cancer (recurrence or relapse). The pattern of these checks and how often your doctors conduct them will depend on the type of cancer you have and how much time has passed since it was found.

No Evidence of Disease: This means no sign of cancer can be found in the body after doctors conduct physical exams, X-rays, scans or blood tests as part of surveillance.

Late and Long-Term Side Effects: Late effects occur after you finish your treatment, sometimes months or years later. Long-term effects start during treatment and continue even after treatment has stopped. Your doctors will assess you for these effects during health visits and will provide care and treatment as needed.

Managing the New Normal: This refers to the time after diagnosis where survivors adapt and/ or return to their normal life activities. You may need to make some changes based on your type of cancer, types of surgeries, and any side effects caused by the cancer or treatment.

You can find other helpful terms related to cancer and survivorship in the American Society of Clinical Oncology Glossary.

If you have additional concerns or questions regarding survivorship care, talk to your doctor or APC, or call 888-369-2427.