Survivorship Research

The wide range of clinical survivorship programs offered by the Lurie Cancer Center provide exceptional opportunities for multidisciplinary clinical and translational research, and transforming scientific discovery into precision and evidence-based cancer care.

The translational research initiatives within the Institute benefit from our ability to implement patient-centered outcomes research in collaboration with our survivorship clinics. The Lurie Screening and Survivorship Care Plan Initiatives are both informed by the American College of Surgeons Commission on Cancer program standards to ensure that patients receive state-of-the-art cancer services and optimal continuum of care.

The Institute collaborates closely with the NCI-designated Lurie Cancer Center's Cancer Control and Survivorship (CCS) Research Program, comprise of more than 35 faculty members. Together, they advance research addressing interactions among environmental, biobehavioral, psychosocial and genetic factors in cancer survivorship. In addition, they study associated psychosocial and physical effects on cancer survivors, their families, and the community and behavioral interventions to improve patient-reported outcomes.

The Lurie Cancer Center's Cancer Control and Survivorship Program is a multi-disciplinary program aimed at Survivorship research.

The goals of the Cancer Control and Survivorship Program are to:

  1. Strengthen and develop programs to improve the measurement, analysis and interpretation of quality of life (QOL) and other patient-reported outcomes.
  2. Strengthen our understanding of cancer survivorship and develop targeted interventions that promote optimal survivorship.
  3. To strengthen and develop programs targeting the acute and long term effects of cancer and cancer-related therapies, and improve symptom management and supportive care.
More about the program
Program membership roster

The Lurie Screening Initiative addresses and surpasses the requirements of the Commission on Cancer standard for psychosocial screening and referral to psychosocial care. Cancer patients commonly experience significant symptom burden and psychosocial issues. Symptom and distress monitoring is essential to ensuring that patients' concerns are recognized and treated promptly. Our Translational Research program has developed and implemented patient-reported symptom assessments at the Cancer Center using state-of-the-science Patient Reported Outcomes Measurement Information System (PROMIS) measures.

The Lurie Screening Initiative allows patients to complete brief online assessments of their fatigue, pain, physical function, depression, anxiety, as well as psychosocial needs. Patients can do so via Northwestern Medicine MyChart, the electronic health record patient communication portal or at our clinics. Patient results immediately populate their electronic health records and any severe symptoms trigger notifications to providers who can then make necessary referrals and care decisions in real time. In addition to promoting high-quality cancer care, the Lurie Screening Initiative is allowing investigators to study how regular symptom assessments and systematic follow-up impact patient care and health outcomes.

The Survivorship Care Planning Initiative addresses and expands upon the Commission on Cancer standard for providing survivorship care plans to patients who are completing cancer treatment. Survivorship care plans include a comprehensive care summary and follow-up care plan that includes recommended surveillance, referrals, links to support services, and health promotion information.

Patients who have completed primary cancer treatment receive Survivorship Care Plans with individualized information to promote optimal continuity of care and health outcomes. This initiative builds upon the Cancer Center's specialized survivorship programs: the Adult Survivorship Clinics, Adolescent and Young Adult Oncology (AYAO) Program, and the STAR program for survivors of childhood cancers. In addition to providing state of the art cancer care by delivering Survivorship Care Plans, investigators in the Institute are evaluating the clinical impact of these care plans on patient reported outcomes.

Within the Institute, Melissa Simon, MD, MPH directs community-engaged survivorship research and clinical initiatives. Dr. Simon's primary research interests are aimed at eliminating health disparities among low income, medically underserved women across the lifespan. Her research focuses on interventions (such as patient navigation and community health outreach workers) that aim to reduce and eliminate such disparities. Within this context, Dr. Simon leverages culture and community to achieve these goals and thereby integrates a community based participatory research framework into her work.

Members of the Cancer Control and Survivorship Program present findings from recent studies at the 8th Biennial Cancer Survivorship Research Conference (June 16-18, 2016; Washington DC) sponsored by the American Cancer Society, the National Cancer Institute, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the LIVESTRONG Foundation. Read more »

Recent Publications

All Cancer Control & Survivorship Publications »

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