While clinicians focus on improving cancer care in the United States there is now a greater emphasis on quality of care following treatment for prostate cancer.

Care guidelines from the American Cancer Society are currently in place for prostate cancer survivors and earlier this month the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) endorsed those guidelines.1

Because of the increasing number of prostate cancer survivors in the United States there is concern that some patients may not be receiving the best care once they are no longer seeing their prostate cancer specialist.

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“Prostate cancer survivorship is really one of the critically important topics as we begin to think about optimizing quality of life in men who have been treated for prostate cancer. So, having a document to provide a framework for physicians is critically important,” said Matthew Resnick, MD, who is an assistant professor of urology at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, TN.

Dr. Resnick, who is one of the co-chairs of the ASCO panel that wrote a paper endorsing the American Cancer Society’s Prostate Cancer Survivorship Care Guidelines, said there are a record number of prostate cancer survivors and continuity of care is a very real concern. It is estimated there are approximately 3 million prostate cancer survivors in the United States.2

The guidelines provide recommendations to primary care physicians on best practices in follow-up care for prostate cancer survivors. The recommendations include health promotion, prostate cancer surveillance, and screening for new cancers. The guidelines place an emphasis on managing long-term and late functional effects of the disease and its treatment.

The recommendations also address psychosocial issues and coordination of care between the survivor’s primary care physician and prostate cancer specialist.

RELATED: New ASCO/CCO Prostate Cancer Guidelines Emphasize Quality of Life

“The recommendations really serve as a platform and offer primary care doctors a framework to provide good care for survivors. They will help improve the transition back to primary care and help improve overall care,” said Dr. Resnick said in an interview with Cancer Therapy Advisor

The guidelines call for discussing bowel function and rectal bleeding with survivors. For men who experience rectal bleeding and have a negative colorectal cancer screening result, it is recommended to prescribe stool softeners, topical steroids, or an anti-inflammatory.