Survivorship Starts day 1
Today, more than 420,000 childhood cancer survivors are alive in the United States, and one in 750 individuals in the United States is a survivor of childhood cancer. Thanks to advances in treatment and screening for some childhood cancers, 80% of all children diagnosed with cancer survive beyond 5 years. This is indeed a glimmer of good news, but the fight always continues: the treatments that save lives also increase later risks for serious, life-threatening illnesses. These health risks are lifelong, increase with age, and can result in early death.
As the largest cause of disease-related death among children and adolescents ages 1-19 in the United States, childhood cancer presents a serious challenge to public health . Fortunately, survival rates for childhood cancer have increased dramatically over the last 30 years due to improved therapies, screening, and protocols. Today, more than 420,000 childhood cancer survivors are alive in the United States, and this number is expected to grow absolutely and proportionately as treatment protocols continue to improve . Because of these improvements, the absolute number of childhood cancer survivors (CCS) has markedly increased, leading to a new set of challenges .
This good news of survivorship statistics is counterbalanced by the fact that CCS are at a much greater risk for primary and secondary cancers, a plethora of chronic diseases, and a variety of treatment-related late effects [4,5]. A growing body of research shows that the health risks facing CCS are lifelong, increase with age, and can result in early mortality. A number of the secondary effects CCS face, such as cardiologic disorders, are treatable primarily through clinical medical intervention [6-8]. And efforts are currently underway to raise awareness of the unique follow-up care needs of this population [9,10]. However, many of the most common health challenges faced by childhood cancer survivors, such as Type 2 diabetes mellitus, obesity, metabolic syndrome, chronic fatigue, and reduced health-related quality of life (HRQOL) can be significantly ameliorated through lifestyle changes [11-13].
There is a need for cost-effective, patient-centered health behavior interventions that can aid CCS and their families in making lifestyle changes that reduce childhood-cancer-related risks while improving overall quality of life [2,14,15]. Because conventional survivorship follow-up care is primarily focused on acute disease screening and management, less attention is paid to preventive medicine, self-care, and health behaviors that can improve quality of life and reduce lifelong increased survivorship health risks.
This is where MaxLove Project's Be Super Action Plan and targeted interventions come into play. It is our goal to partner with families and medical teams nationwide to change the odds for childhood cancer survivors, as well as for those who face/faced diseases treated in the same manner. We are working to build scalable, evidence-based survivorship programs to ensure that all kids have every opportunity to thrive against these odds. We believe that we can change these odds!
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