Guidelines for following pediatric cancer survivors aim to reduce medical complications

New guidelines established by national experts hold the promise of reducing illness and death among adult survivors of childhood cancers. These guidelines, published by a team co-led by a St. Jude Children's Research Hospital investigator, are published in the Dec. 15 issue of the Journal of Clinical Oncology (JCO).

While not designed to replace the clinical judgment of physicians, the guidelines provide recommendations for screening and management of late effects that may arise in pediatric cancer survivors years after their chemotherapy, radiation or surgical treatments. The guidelines are intended to establish national standards to help physicians promote healthy lifestyles among these patients, provide for ongoing monitoring of their health, facilitate early identification of late effects of therapy and provide timely medical care for those late effects.

An estimated 270,000 survivors of childhood cancer live in the United States. An estimated one in 570 young adults age 20 to 34 is a childhood cancer survivor, according to Melissa M. Hudson, M.D., member of St. Jude Hematology-Oncology and director of the St. Jude After Completion of Therapy (ACT) clinic. She is senior author of the JCO report.

Hudson co-chaired the seven-member task force that established the guidelines with Wendy Landier, R.N., C.P.N.P. (City of Hope Comprehensive Cancer Center, Duarte, Calif.). The task force was supported by a national panel of experts and reviewers from the Children's Oncology Group (COG) Late Effects Committee, COG Nursing Discipline section and the COG Patient Advocacy Committee. The guidelines and related health links are available at www.survivorshipguidelines.org. COG is a consortium of about 240 medical research institutions collaborating to study pediatric cancers and develop cures for these diseases. The group includes more than 4,000 investigators and conducts cooperative clinical trials

Contact: Bonnie Cameron
St. Jude Children's Research Hospital

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