Joel Steelman, M.D.I have recently read several articles dealing with childhood cancer survivors. These articles have run the range from very positive reports about the health of children born to survivors to less rosy reports on lasting learning deficits and frequency of marriage in survivors.

Two interesting and significant facts regarding childhood cancers:  

  • The estimated cure rate for childhood cancers is now approaching 75%
  • It is estimated by this coming year that 1 in 570 young adults will be a childhood cancer survivor.

Cancer survivorship has been on my mind for several weeks now as I have personal experience with it in my extended family. I recently agreed to provide endocrine support for Cook Children’s Life After Cancer Program (LACP). I’m excited about the prospect of participating in this  program that cares for young adults who have emerged from the life-changing, stressful experience of cancer. I already find my work with the Neuro-oncology program very rewarding. It is great to see even small changes such as improved quality of life and more daily energy with something as simple as starting one daily tablet of thyroid replacement.

Endocrinology has a lot to offer childhood cancer survivors. The effects of chemotherapy and radiation treatments used to cure cancers can damage several endocrine systems in the body and lead to multiple consequences.

Endocrine System

For example, damage to the pituitary gland can cause permanent growth hormone deficiency. Although growth hormone no longer plays a role in growing taller, it is a necessary hormone throughout life. Adult growth hormone deficiency increases the risk for heart disease and osteoporosis, to name but a few complications. Damage to the ovaries in women can result in infertility and early menopause.

In my practice, I frequently refer to ongoing studies such as the Childhood Cancer Survivor Study (CCSS), a multi-center study sponsored by the National Institute of Cancer that has been ongoing since 1993. This medical report affords me a great deal of invaluable information and guidelines as to the care of young adults who have survived cancer. For example, the study investigated various complications in survivors of childhood brain tumors and found that the relative risk of developing endocrine complications such as hypothyroidism, delayed puberty, growth hormone deficiency, and osteoporosis ranged from 15 times higher compared to an average person to over 200 times higher risk compared to an average person.Additionally, the study furnishes a wealth of publications designed especially for families and young adults to help them understand possible complications and be able to provide appropriate follow up medical care..

Understandably, most families and patients want to leave behind the unpleasant memories of the experiences from cancer treatment. However, the information from these studies serves as motivation that continued work with the oncology team and other specialists is vital to insuring the best, long term quality of life after cancer.

I look forward to beginning this new part of my career in endocrinology in the life after cancer program. I’ll be gaining new knowledge and focus in my endocrine skills. My goal is to take current care guidelines and create a unique Cook Children’s experience in care.

have recently read several articles dealing with childhood cancer survivors. These articles have run the range from very positive reports about the health of children born to survivors to less rosy reports on lasting learning deficits and frequency of marriage in survivors.

Two interesting and significant facts regarding childhood cancers:  

  • The estimated cure rate for childhood cancers is now approaching 75%
  • It is estimated by this coming year that 1 in 570 young adults will be a childhood cancer survivor.

Cancer survivorship has been on my mind for several weeks now as I have personal experience with it in my extended family. I recently agreed to provide endocrine support for Cook Children’s Life After Cancer Program (LACP). I’m excited about the prospect of participating in this  program that cares for young adults who have emerged from the life-changing, stressful experience of cancer. I already find my work with the Neuro-oncology program very rewarding. It is great to see even small changes such as improved quality of life and more daily energy with something as simple as starting one daily tablet of thyroid replacement.

Endocrinology has a lot to offer childhood cancer survivors. The effects of chemotherapy and radiation treatments used to cure cancers can damage several endocrine systems in the body and lead to multiple consequences.

Endocrine System

For example, damage to the pituitary gland can cause permanent growth hormone deficiency. Although growth hormone no longer plays a role in growing taller, it is a necessary hormone throughout life. Adult growth hormone deficiency increases the risk for heart disease and osteoporosis, to name but a few complications. Damage to the ovaries in women can result in infertility and early menopause.

In my practice, I frequently refer to ongoing studies such as the Childhood Cancer Survivor Study (CCSS), a multi-center study sponsored by the National Institute of Cancer that has been ongoing since 1993. This medical report affords me a great deal of invaluable information and guidelines as to the care of young adults who have survived cancer. For example, the study investigated various complications in survivors of childhood brain tumors and found that the relative risk of developing endocrine complications such as hypothyroidism, delayed puberty, growth hormone deficiency, and osteoporosis ranged from 15 times higher compared to an average person to over 200 times higher risk compared to an average person.Additionally, the study furnishes a wealth of publications designed especially for families and young adults to help them understand possible complications and be able to provide appropriate follow up medical care..

Understandably, most families and patients want to leave behind the unpleasant memories of the experiences from cancer treatment. However, the information from these studies serves as motivation that continued work with the oncology team and other specialists is vital to insuring the best, long term quality of life after cancer.

I look forward to beginning this new part of my career in endocrinology in the life after cancer program. I’ll be gaining new knowledge and focus in my endocrine skills. My goal is to take current care guidelines and create a unique Cook Children’s experience in care.