Did you know that one in 700 young adults is estimated to be a survivor of a pediatric cancer? As an adult who has survived cancer as a child, teenager, or young adult, it may seem like there shouldn’t be any more to think about in terms of your cancer diagnosis and treatment. Unfortunately, cancer treatments are not without consequence and many survivors are dealing with the long-term effects of treatments with little guidance. In addition many cancer survivors find that issues arising from their cancer treatment do not become a problem until years or decades after treatment making information on Smart Adult Living After Childhood Cancer all the more important.
You may not recall hearing about these possible effects. This is understandable when you are young during cancer diagnosis and treatment. In addition when you are going through treatment or getting back into your normal life, thinking about what could happen ten or twenty years down the road isn't as much of a priority. So what to do now? Learn what your risks are based on the treatment you received, learn what you can do to prevent them and how to monitor for them.
The Smart Adult Living After Childhood Cancer (Smart ALACC) Care Plan is a "survivorship care plan" that is individualized based on the answers you provide in a brief questionnaire. It is based on the best information we have about long term follow up in survivors of pediatric cancer which includes information from the Children’s Oncology Group Long Term Follow up guidelines (http://www.survivorshipguidelines.org) and information learned from studies, which have followed pediatric cancer survivors into adulthood.
In order to develop the most accurate plan of care for you, you should have a treatment summary available, which includes: your type of cancer and treatments (including chemotherapy drugs, radiation, and surgeries). Your oncology provider (or parents!) may have these details if you do not.
This care plan is meant for you to review and discuss with your healthcare team (both oncology and primary care). Keep in mind that every case is different and the risks of some side effects vary based on the actual dose of radiation or chemotherapy that were received or the techniques that were used to administer these therapies. It is very important to review your plan of care with the oncology team to further clarify your risk.