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Daniel Bowers, M.D. Answers Questions On Childhood Cancer Survivorship

Daniel Bowers, M.D. Answers Questions On: Childhood Cancer Survivorship

Why is childhood cancer survivorship important?

Fortunately, 80 percent of children who are diagnosed with cancer will be long-term survivors of that cancer. If you do the math, that means there are more than 320,000 survivors of childhood cancer in the United States, and one out of every 640 young adults is a survivor of childhood cancer.

Many of these survivors will have late effects or long-term medical and psychological complications of either the cancer or the cancer treatment that persist after the cancer treatment has completed. 

We know that of all childhood cancer survivors, about two-thirds will have some type of late effect and about one-third will have what is referred to as a severe or life-threatening late effect following the treatment of their cancer. So it’s important to monitor these children and help them manage their complications.

What are some of the long-term effects of childhood cancers?

A few examples include: A secondary cancer from their treatment; congestive heart failure; thyroid hormone deficiency: kidney failure: and cognitive impairment.

Can you describe the childhood cancer survivorship program at Children’s Health?

The name of our survivorship program is ACE, which stands for After the Cancer Experience. It focuses on the medical complications childhood cancer survivors may have. We start following patients when they hit their two-year anniversary of the end of treatment and continue to follow them throughout their entire lives.

Why is there a separate survivorship program for childhood brain tumor survivors?

Childhood brain tumor survivors are somewhat unique in that they have a higher rate of late effects or long-term complications; therefore, they are followed separately in a clinic where they can see all the providers at once.