Educating Childhood Cancer Survivors and their Healthcare Providers
According to a recent study in the Annals of Internal Medicine (published January 7th, 2014), the population of childhood cancer survivors is growing, but internists and primary care physicians are not necessarily prepared to care for these individuals through adulthood. Patients are being encouraged to be their own advocate until treatment catches up with their needs.
In the study, it was found that only 12% of oncologists were familiar with the recommended screenings for childhood cancer survivors. The population of adult survivors of childhood cancer, which is currently at 350,000 and growing, is more at risk than the general population is for developing conditions such as heart disease. Females who received chest radiation are also placed at an increased risk of breast cancer and are recommended to have routine mammograms.
With over 80% of childhood cancers currently being deemed curable, the number of childhood cancer survivors should continue to rise. Like the American Childhood Cancer Organization states, “It is imperative that all survivors of childhood cancer receive on-going monitoring and continued physical and psychosocial care throughout their adult lives,” especially since two-thirds of the childhood cancer survivors face at least one chronic health condition. As such, the healthcare industry needs to be able to adapt and provide better assistance helping these patients with the transition into adulthood primary care.