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Ask the Expert: Cancer Survivorship

Heather Dommer, survivorship nurse practitioner at the Nassif Community Cancer Center, discusses cancer survivorship services available to patients.

What is cancer survivorship?

The definition of survivorship we use is from the time of diagnosis to the end of life. In the Survivorship Clinic, we specifically focus on the patients who have just finished up treatment and discuss the side
effects they are having and how the transition from cancer treatment to life after cancer will look.

What happens at a Survivorship appointment?

When I meet with patients, we create a survivorship care plan. First, we review the treatment they’ve already completed and then talk about what their cancer surveillance should look like and lifestyle changes to minimize the risk of cancer recurrence. If the patient is having side effects, we discuss services that could help them. Based on their needs, I’ll refer them to our exercise specialist, social workers, dietitians or another team member who can help. A topic that often comes up is neuropathy. Acupuncture has been shown to be effective in treating neuropathy and I refer many patients to Dr. Nancy Lorenzini for acupuncture. Additionally, patients with chemo-induced cognitive dysfunction often benefit from a referral to occupational therapy.

Who is the Survivorship Clinic open to?

Like all services at the Nassif Community Cancer Center, the Survivorship Clinic is open to all cancer survivors. It doesn’t matter if you just wrapped up treatment at the Community Cancer Center, or a different cancer center in the area, or if you finished treatment 10 years ago in another state, but recently moved to the area. All survivors are welcome at the Nassif Community Cancer Center and the Survivorship Clinic!

How can a cancer survivor schedule an appointment?

If you’re finishing treatment at the Nassif Community Cancer Center, your medical or radiation oncologist will refer you to the Survivorship Clinic. Survivors are also welcome to call the Nassif Community Cancer Center at (319) 558-4876 or fill out the Survivorship appointment request form on our website.

Heather Dommer, ARNP, FNP-C, MSN
Survivorship Nurse Practitioner

Heather earned her bachelor’s in nursing from Mount Mercy College in Cedar Rapids, and her master’s in nursing from Allen College in Waterloo. Heather is board certified by the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners.


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