Cancer Survivors Move Beyond The Cure

Cancer Survivors Move Beyond The Cure

Doctors have some good news, for​ a​ change, about cancer. Today, 79 percent of​ U.S. children diagnosed with cancer survive it. the​ bad news, however, is​ that nearly two-thirds will experience physical or​ psychological problems or​ learning disabilities as​ a​ result of​ their diagnosis or​ treatment.

These "late effects" can occur months, even years after cancer has been treated. if​ survivors don't know about late effects, they might not associate the​ problems with the​ cancer diagnoses and​ a​ minor health problem could become a​ life-threatening issue.

Whatever their child's health, parents can take a​ proactive approach. Here are suggestions:

• You are your child's best advocate. Learn all you can about the​ diagnosis, treatment protocol and​ potential complications.

• Maintain a​ detailed medical journal. From diagnosis on, keep a​ pen and​ notepad with you at​ all times and​ write everything down. Not only will this assist you during your child's treatment, it​ will give you an​ accessible record for​ the​ future.

• Be open and​ honest with yourself, your family and​ especially your child. Knowledge about late effects is​ necessary to​ help your child lead a​ full, healthy and​ productive life.

• Maintain a​ healthy lifestyle for​ your family. a​ good diet during treatment can help minimize side effects. Follow a​ low-fat, plant-based diet and​ encourage daily physical activity to​ increase energy, improve moods, boost self-esteem and​ stimulate the​ immune system.

• After treatment, gather necessary information for​ your child's continued care.

• Realize that as​ a​ result of​ the​ cancer or​ its treatment, your child may have difficulties in​ school. Meet with administrators and​ teachers to​ discuss your child's needs and​ health issues. Talk to​ the​ teachers about educational late effects and​ watch for​ learning problems. if​ necessary, have your child take a​ neuropsychological evaluation.

• Be aware that transitioning to​ "normal life" as​ treatment ends may cause fear, anxiety and​ stress.

"It is​ critical that childhood cancer survivors receive accurate and​ current information about late effects," said Stacia Wagner, a​ National Children's Cancer Society (N.C.C.S.) survivorship specialist and​ cancer survivor.

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