Today over 80% of children with cancer will become long-term survivors. However, therapies used to treat childhood cancers can damage normal tissues and cause health problems after therapy, which are called late effects. Late effects may develop soon after treatment or decades after diagnosis, therefore lifelong care for early detection of late effects is the best way to ensure health and quality of life. Survivor care aims to provide long-term follow-up for childhood cancer survivors.
- Survivors are at risk for long-term treatment-related health problems after completing cancer treatment.
- The risk for late effects is influenced by many factors, including:
- Type and location of cancer
- Specific cancer treatments
- Age at the time of treatment
- Genetic predisposition
- Survivors should receive a Survivor Care Plan (SCP)
- A summary of their cancer treatment
- An individualized late effects risk profile
- An individualized surveillance plan for late effects detection
- Many late effects do not develop until years after cancer therapy (e.g. infertility, second malignancies).
- Life-long survivor care based on a SCP is essential to ensure optimal health and quality of life.
- More than two-thirds of survivors will have chronic health conditions related to their cancer or its treatment-these are called late effects.
- Some late effects do not occur until decades after the completion of treatment.
- Many late effects can be severe and life-threatening like cardiomyopathy or secondary malignancies.
- Survivors need lifelong healthcare focused on the early detections of late effects.
- This specialized healthcare should be guided by evidence-based guidelines like Children's Oncology Group Long-term Follow-up Guidelines for Survivors of Childhood, Adolescent, and Young Adult Cancer
- Each patient should have a personalized survivorship care plan (SCP) which can be obtained from a survivor clinic.
- There are 3 important parts of a SCP:
- Treatment Summary, including information on:
- Cancer Diagnosis/Location
- Chemotherapy – Agents and Doses
- Radiation Therapy– Location and Doses
- Bone Marrow Transplant
- Individualized late effect risk profile
- Individualized surveillance plan for late effects
- Transition to adult care
- Planned transition is key to continued survivor care.
- Cancer SurvivorLink can aid in:
- Storing key health documents
- Sharing key health documents with new healthcare providers
- Providing educational material and resources for survivor care
Continuing Education Module
Health Links - Teaching Handouts from the Children's Oncology Group