Long Term Survivor Program
During the past 20 years, pediatric oncologists have made great strides in improving the overall cure rate of children with cancer. Nearly 70 percent of children diagnosed with cancer now survive - and this rate is sure to improve in the coming years. In fact, it is estimated that, by the year 2010, one in every 250 adults under age 55 will be a childhood cancer survivor.
As the survivor population increases, specialists at Texas Children's Cancer Center continue to monitor patients for delayed - and often unexpected - side effects and complications caused by previous cancer therapies. Though relatively rare, these "late" effects are potentially serious, and often subtle and difficult to diagnose. For these reasons, Texas Children's Cancer Center established the Long Term Survivor Program for patients who were treated here or at any treatment center. This program is funded in part by the Ronald McDonald House of Houston.
Why choose the Long Term Survivor Program at Texas Children's Cancer Center and Hematology Service?
Not every pediatric cancer treatment center continues to care for its patients into adulthood; however, caregivers at Texas Children's Cancer Center recognize that health concerns for childhood cancer patients do not end when their cancer treatment is successfully completed. The Long Term Survivor Program, which currently follows approximately 1,000 long-term survivors, has developed an international reputation as a leader in the field and has attracted a world-renowned faculty involved in local, national and international research that benefits today's pediatric cancer patients and future survivors.
In addition, Texas Children’s Cancer Center has created a Long Term Effects of Childhood Cancer Treatment website (www.cancersurvivorchild.org) that provides overviews of the essential components of physical concerns, psychosocial care, and issues of the future that a survivor, his/her family and health care provider would want to consider. The Cancer Center, along with other researchers at Baylor College of Medicine and in collaboration with the Children’s Oncology Group (COG) and the national Childhood Cancer Survivor Study is also developing the Passport For Care (PFC), an innovative healthcare project that addresses the need to provide patients and survivors of cancer and other chronic illnesses with increased access to their medical information and healthcare guidelines.Top
How to contact the Long Term Survivor Program
To make an appointment, please contact Texas Children's Cancer Center and Hematology Service. Patients are seen on Wednesday, Thursday, and Fridays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Please note that appointments are generally made about 4 weeks in advance to provide ample time for a care plan to be developed and appropriate screening and testing appointments to be scheduled.
Patients and families can call and self-refer to the Long Term Survivor Program directly, and self referrals for this program are permitted. Questions concerning follow-up appointments as well as becoming a new patient can be directed to Gaye Hamor, Long Term Survivor Program Coordinator, at 832-822-4727.Top
The Long Term Survivor Program sees patients of any cancer diagnosis, two years after the completion of therapy, and five years from original date of diagnosis. When an appointment is made, we attempt to schedule all diagnostic and lab evaluations for the same day for your convenience. The visit includes a comprehensive evaluation of the patient's physical health as well as academic and social development. It also includes a meeting with a social worker who can help assess coping skills, answer financial and insurance concerns, and provide the appropriate resources if needed.
The Long Term Survivor Program also provides basic patient education about diagnosis, treatment, potential risks (late-effects), and maintaining and maximizing good health in regards to diet, exercise, environmental exposure, and stress. There are also opportunities to be enrolled in clinical research trials.
Meet the staff of the Long Term Survivor Program
- Texas Children's Cancer Center and Hematology Service's Long Term Survivor Team
Clinical and Laboratory Research
Translational research takes labratory information and "translates" it into the clinical setting. The program's current research focuses on identifying survivors at risk for medical problems, such as heart or hormonal disturbances. A major focus of the program is also directed at early diagnosis and intervention for survivors with psychosocial and neuropsychological concerns. The ultimate purpose of ongoing research is to develop successful interventions for survivors with late complications, as well as to design future cancer therapies that are not accompanied by the risk of late adverse effects.
Our current studies include:
- Identification of genetic markers to help us predict development of learning and attention problems in survivors of acute lymphoblastic leukemia
- Identification of clinical factors that are related to development of infertility in females undergoing cancer therapy
- Identifications of molecular markers in long term survivors of childhood cancer to predict development of damage in the heart
- Use of clonidine for the treatment of neurocognitive sequelae following cancer treatment in children
- Vocational and employment experiences of long term survivors of childhood cancer
- A pilot intervention to enhance psychosexual development in adolescents and young adults with cancer
Patient EducationThe Children's Oncology Group provides long-term follow-up guidelines and additional information on their website, www.survivorshipguidelines.org.
Click on the links below to read articles by members of the Long Term Survivor Team from our quarterly eJournal, Perspectives on Childhood Cancer.
Subscribe to the eJournal here