State Department of Health Releases Report on Cancer Survivors in New York State During National Cancer Survivor’s Month

More than One Million Cancer Survivors Live in New York State

Survivorship Care Plans Are an Important Tool to Help Coordinate the Continued Care Needs of Survivors

ALBANY, N.Y. (June 30, 2022) - During National Cancer Survivor's Month this June, the New York State Department of Health celebrated the lives of cancer survivors and worked to raise awareness of the many issues cancer survivors face every day – even well after treatment has ended. The Department encourages survivorship care plans as an important tool to help coordinate on-going care needs for survivors.

There are more than one million cancer survivors living in New York State (NYS). A cancer survivor is someone who currently has cancer or who has had cancer in the past. According to the just released NYS Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) report, Cancer Survivors, New York State Adults, nearly half (47.7%) of survivors report getting their first cancer diagnosis between the ages of 45 and 64 and most (42.6%) report it had been more than 10 years since their first diagnosis.

"Cancer survivors can experience physical, mental and social hardships, both during and after treatment," State Health Commissioner Dr. Mary T. Bassett said. "Meeting their on-going needs requires coordination across care providers, treatments and services. A survivorship care plan serves as a critical tool to support New York's cancer survivors, providing a well-coordinated plan to support their health and overall well-being."

According to the BRFSS report, nearly 60% of cancer survivors reported that they had finished their cancer treatment and more than half of them (52.8%) got a written summary from their health care provider of all the cancer treatments that they received. About 66% of cancer survivors who completed treatment received written instructions about where to return or whom to see for follow-up care. However, nearly one in five cancer survivors received either only verbal instructions or no instructions at all about follow-up care.

Effective communication between the patient, oncology and primary care teams throughout the cancer care continuum helps ensure well-coordinated care for survivors. Survivorship care plans that summarize the patient's cancer and treatment history; potential long-term effects; and needed screening, preventive care, and follow-up can facilitate a more organized, coordinated, and systematic approach to quality cancer care. Primary care providers are in the unique position to use survivorship care plans and help cancer survivors receive well-coordinated, on-going care to improve their quality of life.

The Department oversees projects and works with partners to improve outcomes among cancer survivors. This includes completing an assessment of survivorship care provided by cancer programs accredited by the NYS American College of Surgeons Commission on Cancer. The assessment identified best practices, resource needs and opportunities for improvement. The Department is using this information to work with cancer programs and the NYS Cancer Consortium's survivorship action teams to raise awareness about cancer survivor care needs across the state. In addition, the Department funds community-based organizations to provide support and wellness programs for breast cancer survivors and the Department's Comprehensive Cancer Control Program funded local community projects to provide educational opportunities for primary care providers, patient navigators, cancer patients, and caregivers about the health care needs of cancer survivors.

About the report:

The Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) is an annual telephone survey of adults developed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention conducted in all 50 States, the District of Columbia, and several US Territories. The New York BRFSS is administered by the New York State Department of Health to provide statewide and regional information on behaviors, risk factors, and use of preventive health services related to the leading causes of chronic and infectious diseases, disability, injury, and death. Data from the BRFSS are useful for planning, initiating, and supporting health promotion and disease prevention programs at the state and federal level, and monitoring progress toward achieving health objectives for the state and nation.

Learn more about cancer survivorship and resources:

NYS DOH Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, Cancer Survivors, New York State Adults, 2020:

NYS Cancer Consortium and Survivorship Action Teams:

NYS DOH, Cancer Survivorship Data Compendium - 2018 New York State Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System:

NYS DOH, Information for Action, Physical and Mental Health-Related Quality of Life among Cancer Survivors:

NYS DOH, Information for Action, Care Coordination for Cancer Survivors: