Cancer survivorship: current status of research, care, and policy in Japan

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Progress in early detection and treatment has been changing cancer into a chronic illness, and this has initiated an imperative shift in focus among healthcare providers, researchers and policy makers in many countries, including Japan, to cancer survivorship issues rather than mere survival. This article reviews the history of the cancer survivorship concept and examines how the concept has been integrated into cancer policy in Japan. It also discusses the characteristics of survivorship research and briefly reviews the current status of research and care, both in Japan and globally, regarding five important survivorship topics: developing measures for long-term complications and delayed effects, interpersonal relationships, lifestyle modifications and health promotion, sexuality and fertility, and work-related issues. Cooperation with practitioners and researchers in areas outside the medical fields will be indispensable to promote survivorship research and care practice. Also, the importance of collaboration with cancer survivors for developing support systems and policy measures related to survivorship cannot be emphasized enough.

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