Taipei Medical University Taipei Cancer Center (TMU-TCC) and Taipei Medical University Hospital opened Taiwan’s first Long-Term Follow-Up Clinic for children who have survived cancer. Taipei Cancer Center is a Comprehensive Cancer Center that is committed to high-quality care and research for patients with cancer. In addition to undertaking research and developing treatments for adults with cancer, the Center also focuses on implementing integrated care for children and adolescents.
Childhood Cancer Long-term Follow-up Clinic provides personalized medical services to meet the health needs of childhood cancer survivors, providing them with physical evaluation, emotional and psychosocial support, and recommendations for interventions to improve quality of life. Survivors of childhood cancer have higher risks of health problems related to their underlying disease and treatment. In order to effectively address these problems, the multidisciplinary approach to the care of these children and young adults is implemented.
The cure rate for children’s cancer has dramatically increased over the last 40 years. The long-term survival rate is now approaching 80%. Thus, the number of childhood cancer survivors has also increased. With over 500 children in Taiwan diagnosed with cancer every year, more than 400 survive after treatment. Unfortunately, late and sometimes serious therapy-related complications occur and significantly affect the quality of life of the children surviving cancer and its treatment.
Childhood cancer survivors, especially children with bone tumors and brain tumors, have unique long-term challenges. Their long-term health is impacted by both the underlying disease and its treatment. Early diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of these treatment-related complications are important to maximize quality of life of these survivors. Many challenges remain, however. According to the Childhood Cancer Survivor Study (CCSS) in the United States, approximately two-thirds of childhood cancer survivors suffer from long-term physicial, psychosocial, and cognitive health issues. Achieving the best quality of life for children who survive cancer depends on developing multidisciplinary integrated care after treatment.
Late complications may occur many years after the patient received treatment for the original cancer. As adults, the surivors often are unaware of the medical complications of their original cancer and its treatment; they also need assistance in accessing care for these problems. Medical personnel with specialized training are required to meet the unique health needs of these individuals. These professionals should include Internal Medicine Specialists, Psychiatrists, Surgeons, and Pediatricians and Pediatric Oncologists. Other experts should include nurse practitioners, dietitians, and social workers. The goal of care is to provide optimal treatment for the health issues and promote a healthy lifestyle for the survivors. This approach to care through the Long-Term Follow-Up Clinic will improve the quality of life of the survivors with childhood cancer.
Visit Taipei Medical University for more information.