Global Key Messages

  • Due to population ageing and trends in risk factors, the number of people diagnosed with cancer is growing. About 14 million new cases of cancer are diagnosed worldwide each year. At the global level, in 2012, 32.6 million people were five-year cancer survivors (people who are alive five years after being diagnosed with cancer), including 15.6 million in developing countries (Globocan).  
  • Survival for many cancers has improved over the last 20 to 30 years. Together these trends mean that an increasing number of people are living with or beyond cancer.
  • Cancer survivors face a number of key challenges within health care systems in terms of receiving appropriate and adequate access to care. Evidence suggests a significant number of people with a lived experience of cancer have unmet informational, psychosocial, and physical needs which can be effectively addressed through supportive care interventions.
  • In low income countries and some middle income countries where infrastructure and access are still an issue, rates of survivorship are still relatively low. (1)

The Facts – Key data

  • Survivorship and Supportive care can broadly be defined as services, which address a patient’s informational, emotional, spiritual, social, or physical needs during the diagnostic, treatment, or follow-up stages of cancer even after treatment, and throughout the rest of their life. Survivorship is inclusive of the idea of Patient-Centered Cancer Care, or  care that is “respectful of and responsive to individual patient preferences, needs and values, and ensures that patient values guide all clinical decisions.” (Institute of Medicine, 2001; 2013)
  • Survivorship can be divided in three phases that describe the period a survivor is going through: acute survivorship, extended survivorship and permanent survivorship. “Acute survivorship begins at diagnosis and goes through to the end of initial cancer treatment. Cancer treatment is the focus. Extended survivorship begins at the end of initial cancer treatment and goes through the months after. The effects of cancer and treatment are the focus. Permanent survivorship is the period when years have passed since cancer treatment ended and recurrence seems less likely. Long term effects of cancer and treatment are the focus. (

    Supportive care theories and practice concern issues of health promotion and prevention, survivorship, palliation, and bereavement, and can be categorised as primary, secondary, or tertiary care depending on the level of specialization.


Hewitt M. et al., From Cancer Patient to Cancer Survivor: Lost in Transition, NAP, 2005.

Meeting the Challenge

Elements of Patient-Centered Cancer Care 

The Elements of PCCC are a collection of key building blocks that can be utilized to deliver cancer care across a variety of settings. Across the cancer continuum, the following elements characterize cancer care that is patient-centered; that is, care that is respectful of and responsive to the needs, preferences, and values of cancer patients, survivors, and their family members and caregivers: 


Country Example

The following LIVESTRONG videos discuss delivering patient-centered cancer care, its challenges and successes in the US: