CINCINNATI—Cancer survivorship is an important component of cancer care that institutions are trying to programmatically develop and navigate as the number of survivors continues to increase. According to the American Cancer Society, there are now more than 14.5 million cancer survivors in the United States and that number is expected to grow to nearly 18 million by 2022.
The University of Cincinnati (UC) Cancer Institute has been able to ramp up its efforts in advancing the survivorship program because of a $1 million gift from The Robert and Adele Schiff Family Foundation.
This gift is specifically being used to increase survivorship education for health care professionals, to further develop programs promoting health and better quality of life for patients during and after cancer treatment and to increase research initiatives in the area of cancer survivorship.
"Cancer survivors have unique health issues that need to be monitored and addressed,” says Beth Schiff, two-time cancer survivor and daughter-in-law to Robert and Adele Schiff. "One of the purposes of this program is to provide additional training for health care professionals so they will more readily recognize short and long term side effects of cancer treatment. Ultimately, we need to help cancer patients cope with the social, psychological and medical issues that are caused by cancer treatment—during the treatment itself and in some cases years later.
"Thankfully, the number of cancer survivors is growing, and we need to support them in every way so that they can lead healthy and productive lives. The development of the Cancer Survivorship Program at UC is one very important piece of the larger puzzle that will help the UC Cancer Institute and Cincinnati Cancer Center programs gain National Cancer Institute-designation as a Comprehensive Cancer Center.”
Additionally, it will provide funds to hold educational events for health care providers and the community about best practices and advancements in the field. The Robert and Adele Schiff Family Foundation Research Grant, $200,000 in pilot funding, will also be awarded twice per academic year to researchers studying adult and pediatric cancer survivorship to increase knowledge about this area of cancer.
An upcoming cancer survivorship conference, "Transforming Cancer Survivorship Through Research and Best Practice,” being held March 27, 2015, and featuring keynote speaker Julia Rowland, PhD, director of the National Cancer Institute’s Office of Cancer Survivorship, will explore the Commission on Cancer’s national standards for survivorship care plans, discuss treatment-related effects and research-based strategies and stress multispecialty collaboration for best outcomes.
Rowland will also speak at a community fundraising event, being held at 5:30 p.m. March 26, 2015, which will celebrate the launch of UC’s Cancer Survivorship Program. Tickets for this event are available for purchase, and pilot funding grant awardees will be announced at this time.
"Our region’s cancer survivors deserve a robust survivorship program that provides the most comprehensive, evidence-based care to all cancer survivors in the region,” says Beverly Reigle, PhD, director of the program and associate professor in UC’s College of Nursing. "Our program is flourishing and growing thanks to the generous and continued support of the Robert and Adele Schiff Family Foundation and this gift. We are deeply grateful.”
"The generosity of the Schiff family over the years is nothing short of inspirational,” said Chris Smith, vice president of development and alumni affairs at the UC Foundation. "Thank you for once again making a life-changing difference at UC and in the Greater Cincinnati community.”
>>Find out more about the survivorship conference.