Models of care for survivors of childhood cancer

Authors


  • Debra L. Friedman is the Assistant Professor of Pediatrics.

Abstract

With improvements in therapy for childhood cancer, the expectation that most childhood cancer patients will survive and enter adulthood is a reality. There is clear evidence that survivors are at risk for adverse health-related long-term sequelae associated with their cancer and its treatment, requiring appropriate health care resources. What is less clear is how this health care should optimally be delivered. We review the functional and operational needs for long-term follow-up for childhood cancer survivors and present alternatives for models of care. Programs for childhood cancer survivors should provide mechanisms for monitoring and management of late effects, as well as support and advocacy for addressing psychosocial issues, health education, and assistance with financial concerns. Access to research is an important component as clinical care and research are integrally related. A multidisciplinary model that provides continuity of care throughout the disease course is optimal, providing transitions from acute anti-neoplastic therapy to follow-up and primary care, as well as from pediatric care to adult-oriented care. There is no single best model of care for all childhood cancer survivors. In evaluating different models, considerations include available resources as well as the particular cancer population being served. Not all survivors require the same level of services and the service level requirement for individual patients may change with time. As outcome research progresses for childhood cancer survivors, methodological issues of optimal health care delivery for this population deserve to be the subject of such research. Pediatr Blood Cancer 2006;46:159–168. © 2005 Wiley-Liss, Inc.

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