Some of the health problems cancer survivors may have include:
Heart problems, including early congestive heart failure, coronary heart disease, and heart attacks
Endocrine disorders, including thyroid dysfunction, obesity, growth delay, premature menopause, and osteoporosis
Secondary cancers or recurrent cancer
Social and psychological concerns
At the first clinic visit, our experts will complete a thorough medical history and physical exam, which can include compiling a list of previous treatments as well as screenings for conditions common among childhood cancer survivors. Read more about your first clinic visit.
In addition to treating patients for current conditions, we want to address their risk of secondary cancers and other late effects of therapy. For example, women who have had radiation therapy before age 30 have an increased lifetime risk of contracting breast cancer. We know that these women need to be screened for breast cancer earlier than women who have not had radiation therapy. As part of the clinic visits, we will create a screening schedule for the cancer survivor and his or her primary care physician, if needed.
We will also screen for common endocrine and cardiac risks after cancer therapy, such as examining thyroid function for patients who received any radiation to the neck. We will evaluate the patient's heart by ultrasound (echocardiogram) to determine if he or she has early signs of heart disease. In addition, we can determine if patients are at risk for kidney dysfunction.
Our goal is to educate survivors and their families about these health issues. We work closely with a patient's primary care giver and other specialists to ensure that a patient is receiving the best care possible. Together, our team of experts will discuss each patient. From this discussion, we will develop an individualized set of recommendations for health maintenance and late effects screening. In addition to discussing our recommendations with the patient, we will send our treatment summary, evaluation, and recommendations the patient's primary care physician.
Our experts are also committed to treating not just the body, but also the mind. As part of the University of Chicago Medicine, we have access to health professionals that can help you and your child deal with the emotional aspect of surviving cancer.
Because there are higher genetic risk factors for some childhood cancers, we can refer you and your family to our Familial Cancer Clinic for further evaluation. At this clinic, we can help determine the risk of cancer in other members of your family. Learn more about the Familial Cancer Clinic.