Post-Treatment and Survivorship Research
Childhood cancer leaves a lasting impact on children and families. Even after treatment ends, long-term effects of cancer treatment may pose challenges for survivors. Children and young adults, along with their families, may experience significant changes to their lifestyle.
As researchers continuously work to increase the survivorship rates for childhood cancer, they’re also studying ways to improve the health and well-being of survivors after the cancer has been treated.
Today, there are an estimated 15.5 million childhood cancer survivors in the U.S. and survivorship research is more important than ever.
Toxic cancer treatments often cause lasting effects on a child’s body. These effects can last months or years after treatment ends.
A few common late effects may include (these will vary depending on the type of cancer and form of treatment a child receives):
- Memory or hearing loss
- Learning disabilities
- Nerve damage, pain and weakness
- Stunted bone growth
- Secondary cancers
- More cavities or loss of teeth
- Heart damage
- Delayed or early puberty and infertility
- Depression and anxiety
Health Care After Cancer
Survivors should create a plan with their care team to help them practice a healthy lifestyle and cope with any possible late effects that they may experience. Regular follow up appointments with a care team are critical to monitoring late effects and the long-term health of childhood cancer survivors. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle is especially important for survivors.
Children’s Cancer Research Fund supports ongoing research to help understand survivorship. Each year, we help to underwrite the Survivorship Conference, held by the Masonic Cancer Center, University of Minnesota. This initiative gets cancer survivors together to talk about common experiences they face. Panel discussions, researcher presentations and keynote speakers are just a few elements offered at the Survivorship Conference. To learn more, visit mhealth.org/survivorship.
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Lucie Turcotte, MD, MPH, MS loves hearing about school, dating, graduations, weddings… everything “normal” in a childhood cancer survivor...