As advances in treating pediatric cancers allow more and more patients to live into adulthood, doctors are increasingly concerned about the long-term health effects of the very treatments that saved them as children.

Many children are surviving childhood cancer with the advancement of treatment options but data has proven that those same treatments have impacted their health as they have become adults and the reason many of these issues were undiagnosed for a long time or until it’s too late. Researchers found, in a large study of adult survivors of childhood cancer, that more than 95% suffered from a chronic health condition by the age of 45, including pulmonary, hearing, cardiac and other problems related either to their cancer or the cancer treatment. "Doctors may not be thinking about a heart-valve disorder in someone in his 30s, but if you had radiation to your chest at 10, this is something to think about," said Melissa M. Hudson St Jude, principal investigator and one of the authors of the study, which was published in JAMA. 

"Fortitude" is a survivorship education conference we are working to offer families we help. We want to increase knowledge of the cancer diseases, treatment options, long term implications of treatment choices, and it helps patients effectively communicate with their clinical care team, family, and friends. Our goal is to use nurse navigators assist childhood cancer survivors and families by assessing, identifying and solving the barriers to help them get access or back into a long term survivorship program to help educate them on long term side effects. 

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