Childhood Cancer Survivorship
The five-year survival rate for children living with cancer has increased dramatically during the past four decades and is now approaching 80 percent.
This growing population of long-term survivors is at risk for adverse effects related to their cancer and subsequent therapy.
These adverse effects, known as late effects, may not become apparent until years later. Approximately two-thirds of
childhood cancer survivors experience at least one late effect.
Late effects can create challenges for various aspects of growth, development, and organ functions:
- Bone health
- Dental health
- Emotional health
- Heart health
- Kidney health
- Liver health
- Lung health
- Thyroid health
- Vision and hearing
The mission of the Penn State Health Childhood Cancer Survivorship Clinic is to educate survivors about the possible late effects that may occur as a result of the therapy they received and monitor them closely for these effects.
Eligible individuals must have been diagnosed with childhood cancer at least five years prior, and must have completed therapy at least two years prior to joining the Survivorship Clinic. Survivors visit the Survivorship Clinic annually.
Survivors meet with a physician, the survivorship clinic coordinator, and a social worker, all of whom specialize in late
effects of childhood cancer. Visits include:
- Personalized education about the survivor's cancer therapy and risk for late effects. Survivors receive an individualized treatment summary outlining cumulative chemotherapy doses, radiation doses, surgery, and other interventions from the day of diagnosis to the present.
- Evaluation for late effects by a physician. Each survivor is assessed for potential late effects that may affect the individual's quality of life or predispose him or her to future health risks. Appropriate coordination of care with additional specialists is made, if necessary. Each survivor also receives a customized plan for long-term follow-up and surveillance testing to monitor risk-based late effects.
- Discussion of one or two topics on improving quality of life based on a wellness curriculum.
- A meeting with the social worker to discuss school, work, behavioral, emotional, relationship or financial concerns, health insurance questions, and survivorship resources. Transition to adult care Once a survivor reaches age 18 or ten years following completion of therapy (whichever is later), he or she transitions from the Survivorship Clinic to an adult primary care physician and the team provides a transition packet to the new physician to ensure an easy transition.
- Melanie Comito, M.D., Neuro-Oncology
- Smita Dandekar, M.D., Pediatric Hematology
- Robert Greiner, M.D., Director, Stem Cell Transplant
- Sandy Marconi, R.N., Nurse Coordinator
- Michelle Marino, R.N., B.S.N., Survivorship Clinic Nurse Coordinator
- Terry Shapiro, C.R.N.P., M.S.N., R.N., Stem Cell Transplant
- Katherine Stenman M.S.W., L.S.W.
- Amy Tubbs, R.N., Nurse Coordinator
General Resource for Survivors
Resource for Pediatric Survivors
Resource for Young Adult Survivors
Scholarships for Childhood Cancer Survivors
Web Conferences for Survivors and Parents
If you know someone who may benefit from the services of the Childhood Cancer Survivorship Clinic, please call 717-531-6012