Andy Gegg was only a few weeks shy of his sixteenth birthday when he was diagnosed with Ewing's Sarcoma. After several surgeries, radiation therapy and chemotherapy; Andy successfully completed his cancer treatment.
Andy is just one of many childhood cancer survivors. Since the 1970's advances in modern medicine have tripled the survival rate for childhood cancer. There are currently over 270,000 survivors of childhood cancer in the U.S. and by the year 2010 it is estimated that one in every 250 young adults will be a childhood cancer survivor.
When families learn their child has cancer, they often focus solely on the cure. At the conclusion of treatment they think the cancer experience is over. Few survivors are aware of the resulting emotional, educational, and physical effects that will last a lifetime. As many as two thirds of all childhood cancer survivors will experience a medical late effect, one third of these are serious.
A study published in the New England Journal of Medicine found cancer treatments during childhood can cause long-term health problems such as hearing loss, heart damage, joint problems and memory problems.
Of major concern to health professionals is the fact that very few childhood cancer survivors receive the basic information and education about the various health and psychological problems that could affect their future well-being.
Today, Andy is doing well and attending college. As he transitions into the adult medical setting it is important for him to be aware of the subsequent health problems he may face. In addition to knowing his medical history, he needs to know how to share this information with his doctors.
MEDICA.de; Source: National Children's Cancer Society