Survivorship

Matthew Wuerffel

Matthew Wuerffel was a young man of 19 when he was treated for testicular cancer. His treatment included surgery to remove the tumor and three cycles of chemotherapy.

At 24, Matt came to the Survivorship Program with many concerns about the late effects of his cancer treatment, including his risk of infertility, a condition that can have many different causes in cancer survivors. "When I was going through treatment, it was easy to ignore the possible problems down the road — I was more concerned with getting through chemotherapy," Matt said. "It was really important to have a chance to go back and review the potential long-term side-effects of my treatment."

During his clinic appointment, health-care providers from the Survivorship Program reviewed Matt's treatment and discussed with him the potential long-term effects. Matt left his appointment with a Survivorship Care Plan, a document which includes information and referrals specific to his cancer experience — including a referral for evaluation of his fertility.

As part of his visit, Matt was also given contact information for a primary care physician near his home. One of the goals of the Survivorship Program is to work with cancer survivors to make sure they are receiving proper follow-up for issues not related to cancer. In Matt's case, this included continued follow-up for a history of elevated cholesterol as well as ongoing health maintenance. "I appreciated the approach of the Survivorship Program. It wasn't just about my experience with cancer; my overall health and well-being were taken into careful consideration."

Matt will be encouraged to return annually for follow-up visits with the Survivorship Program, and the staff are always available to answer questions, address concerns and make referrals.

Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center is a world leader in research to prevent, detect and treat cancer and other life-threatening diseases.