Smilow Survivorship Clinic
Established in 2006, the Survivorship Clinic at Smilow Cancer Hospital was the first dedicated, multidisciplinary resource for cancer survivors in Connecticut to provide patients and their families with vital information on cancer prevention, wellness, supportive services, and the latest health research related to cancer survivorship.
The Smilow Cancer Hospital Survivorship Clinic has a team of leading clinicians who educate survivors on the prevention, detection, and treatment of complications resulting from cancer treatment. Patients are counseled by a medical oncologist, a nurse practitioner, a registered dietitian, a physical therapist, and a clinical social worker. A survivorship coordinator supports cancer survivors throughout their visit and follow-up consultations.
Prior to the clinic visit, the team reviews the patient’s past cancer diagnosis and treatment history. On the day of the visit, patients discuss their concerns with the providers. This information helps the team design an individualized treatment summary and survivorship care plan for each patient with customized recommendations in the following areas:
- Surveillance and screening guidelines and medical provider identification
- Wellness education tailored to cancer type and treatment history
- Psychosocial support for survivors and their families
- Nutritional counseling
- Exercise and fitness recommendations
At the conclusion of the visit, patients leave with a written plan tailored to their specific needs and concerns. A copy of this plan is also sent to their referring physician or primary caregiver.
Patients also have the opportunity to receive the following referral-based services:
- Genetic counseling
- Community mental health providers
- Integrative medicine resources including reiki, massage, etc.
- Neurocognitive assessment
- Sexual health
- Tobacco treatment
- Referrals to community exercise programs and physical therapy
- Virtual Cancer Survivors' Celebration
Smilow Survivorship Clinic Members
Tara Sanft, MDMedical Oncology, Breast OncologyTara Sanft, MD, is a Yale Medicine medical oncologist and director of the Survivorship Program at Yale Cancer Center and Smilow Cancer Hospital. She enjoys helping people with the issues they face after cancer treatment and creating survivorship care plans for them—individualized “road maps” for how to go about living daily life after cancer. “Once the patient is done with treatment and on surveillance,” Dr. Sanft says, “they're considered in the ‘survivorship phase’ of their treatment. And that's the phase where they get lost in transition and the patient may think, ‘I'm falling off the cliff, I finished my treatment, my next appointment is in a year… now what?’” To help, Dr. Sanft and her team, which includes a social worker, physical therapist and nutritionist, address common problems people may be experiencing, including fear of recurrence and sexual intimacy issues. They also make specific diet, exercise and follow-up care recommendations to help survivors feel more in control of their lives. “For many patients, this survivorship period is marked with fear,” she says. “It's kind of adjusting to a ‘new normal’—a new sense of your physical, emotional and spiritual self after cancer.”