Survivorship Program for Cancer
Multi-disciplinary follow-up care to help patients and families after cancer treatment
Childhood Cancer Survivorship Clinic
Erlanger East Hospital
1755 Gunbarrel Road, Suite 206
Chattanooga, TN 37421
Our clinic is located at Erlanger East
and is held on the second and fourth
Thursday of each month.
Caring for childhood cancer patients does not end at the conclusion of cancer treatment. Patients, families and caregivers have unique requirements as they transition back to a life outside the hospital and return to a normal life. This is an emerging area of medicine as more patients than ever before are surviving cancer.
Dramatic increases in survival rates of childhood pediatric patients are one of the great success stories of modern medicine. With more than 80% of patients surviving treatment, the majority of patients can expect to live years after treatment ends.
With so many patients surviving, we now have developed a large data base that allows us to better understand what these patients can expect as they continue to live their lives. Many patients will experience what are called late effects – conditions that may not manifest themselves until years after treatment – that are directly attributed to their cancer and their treatment. The massive amount of data on these surviving patients has allowed oncologists to look at factors such as patient gender, age, diagnosis and treatment as well as late effects they experienced. With this analysis, oncologists now are able to reliably predict the late effects that individuals are likely to experience. That understanding allows the Center for Childhood Cancer at Erlanger to develop a plan for “survivorship” and allow patients to live a more normal life.
What Are Late Effects?
Late effects are medical conditions that result from cancer and/or its treatment, and may persist after treatment or not manifest themselves until years later. Some examples include cardiac anomalies, endocrine conditions, amputation, infertility, secondary tumors, and early onset osteoporosis. These effects vary according to the specific factors surrounding each patient’s unique medical history.
What Is Survivorship?
Survivorship involves the transition from cancer care to long term regular follow up for the patient. This will address both medical and social issues to allow patients and their families to better adjust to the new lifestyle they will experience post treatment. Such a program can provide early intervention to prevent, control, or reduce the impact of late effects on the patient’s life.
Survivorship at the Center for Childhood Cancer and Blood Disorders
At Erlanger we combine what has been learned from literally thousands of pediatric cancer patients along with what we have learned from our own cancer survivors to design a program that will support and educate childhood cancer survivors, their families, and their caregivers.
Our Multi-Specialty Program Offers Assistance in Three Primary Areas
- Medical - Focus on heart, lungs, and organs
- Neuropsychology - Psychological issues with a particular expertise on school matters
- Physiotherapy - Screening for potential therapeutic solutions
Our program is available to all childhood cancer survivors and their support team to help offset the impact of late effects and ease the assimilation back into a normal life. It does not matter where the patient received initial
cancer treatment as our goal is to provide the following to all survivors:
- Monitoring to detect early problems
- Early intervention to prevent or help reduce the impact of late effects
- Education on each survivor’s unique situation
- Guidelines for health maintenance unique toeach patient’s history
This program is not just for pediatric patients. Even though we focus on pediatrics, we still help adults who survived childhood cancer navigate the process of survivorship to get the care you need. The transition from cancer treatment to the survivorship program usually takes place about two years after completion of treatment. Patients typically visit the clinic once each quarter.