As more patients who survive cancer transition back to primary care, greater coordination of care and more attention to health promotion and disease prevention in survivors is needed, according to the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO).

An article published online ahead of print in the Journal of Clinical Oncology points out that the number of cancer survivors has increased dramatically as a result of improved early detection and effective therapies. There are currently more than 13 million cancer survivors in the United States — a group that is expected to grow to 18 million by 2022.

ASCO is working toward greater collaboration between primary-care providers and oncologists, and toward designing guidance applicable to all medical settings and disseminated broadly for implementation on a large scale not only to oncologists but to nurse practitioners, physician assistants, primary-care physicians, and the patients themselves.

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Recent studies have emphasized relationships between cancer and a condition very familiar to primary-care providers: diabetes.

Dr. Lorraine Lipscombe and colleagues reported in Diabetologia that postmenopausal survivors of breast cancer have an increased risk of developing diabetes, particularly in the first two years of receiving adjuvant therapy.

Sanjeev Kumar, MBBS, and team found an association between the use of the widely used diabetes drug metformin and improved survival among women with ovarian cancer (Cancer; online ahead of print).

In Population Health Management, a group led by Lauren Irizarry described how persons with diabetes often let disease management lag when it coexists with cancer, despite the dangers of uncontrolled blood glucose.


  1. McCabe MS et al. “American Society of Clinical Oncology Statement: Achieving High-Quality Cancer Survivorship Care.” J Clin Oncol. 2013; doi:10.1200/JCO.2012.46.6854.