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Life After Cancer Program

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Call 682-885-4007

Cancer ... it is a small word that carries a huge weight. The stress involved is not limited to just diagnosis and treatment, but also issues that can last a lifetime. Cancer can leave physical and emotional scars and a new normal after treatment that is filled with hope and sometimes anxiety over the after effects. The Life After Cancer Program (LACP) is a survivorship program designed to address the myriad of concerns that come up with related medical, psychological and social problems after treatment is completed. In the last 20 years, more than 2,500 cancer survivors have received treatment at Cook Children’s in our program. We provide a yearly comprehensive clinic visit that includes a detailed physical exam, review of a personalized treatment summary, review and monitoring of late effects, psychosocial support and education on health and wellness.

Our team involves the experience of pediatric Hematologist/Oncologists, advanced practice providers, a social worker, nurse, educator, Child Life and dietitian. Our goal is to provide medical care, education and lifestyle interventions to enhance lives. We actively participate in local, national and international research endeavors to learn more about cancer survivors and ways to promote health.

The Life After Cancer Program at Cook Children's is here to help ensure the survivor and family have the support they need to enjoy a full and rewarding life after Hematologic or Oncologic treatment including chemotherapy, surgery, radiation and stem cell transplant.

Who we are

The LACP team works to help childhood, adolescent and young adult survivors by providing long-term medical and emotional support, education and resources to help them adjust to new changes in their lives now and in the future. The program is designed as a long-term follow-up program for patients who are at minimum two years past completion of therapy. The program is led by Dr. Donald Beam and services are supported by two nurse practitioners, a nurse coordinator and social worker.

What we do

The Life After Cancer Survivorship Program is a comprehensive survivorship program dedicated to address late effects which children, adolescents and young adults may experience as a result of hematologic or oncologic treatment.

The survivorship program was the first non-academic program funded by the Livestrong Foundation. Services provided through the Life After Cancer Program include:

  • Thorough medical history and physical assessments
  • Psychosocial assessments by a licensed clinical social worker (LCSW)
    • Counseling services
    • Social work services
    • Educational, financial and vocational counseling
    • Resources for college
  • Guidance and support for young adult survivors transitioning from pediatric to adult services
  • Multispecialty services by LACP and Endocrinology clinic
  • Consultations in survivorship including the following pediatric specialties with Cook Children's and the adult community: Neurosciences, Cardiology, Nephrology, Pulmonology, Dermatology and others
  • Collaboration with other survivor centers, professional organizations nationally and community programs to ensure quality survivor care is provided to our patients and the community at large
  • Research initiatives to:
    • Improve the health and health-related quality of life for survivors
    • Successful transition to survivorship and to adult services
    • Encourage optimal cancer prevention and screening behaviors

The focus of LACP is to ensure that survivors of oncologic and hematologic therapies undergo appropriate monitoring and follow-up, relevant to their original diagnosis and therapy. The ultimate goal is that they become independent adults able to advocate for their own health care. Each patient receives a comprehensive treatment and follow-up summary with nationally approved current guidelines of care.

Focus on the future

The Cook Children's Life After Cancer Program contributes actively to clinical research through its participation in the Childhood Cancer Survivor Study (CCSS). The CCSS came into existence in the early 1990's, and has generated more important research than any other organization in describing the late effects and quality of life for survivors of childhood cancer.

The CCSS is a National Cancer Institute funded resource designed to systematically evaluate a large group of cancer survivors as they progress into adulthood and their later years. Cook Children's potential value to this effort has been acknowledged, as well as our early success in tracing and recruiting several hundred potential candidates from among our survivor population.

We currently participate in several late effects and investigation developed research studies and play an active role for clinicians and other health investigators to conduct studies and provide leadership and educational opportunities on behalf of the CCSS at Cook Children's

Events

Camp O'Hana
The LACP team organizes an annual family retreat for school-age and adolescent survivors (6-17 years) and their families.
Visit Camp O'Hana

Camp Mak-A-Dream
Camp Mak-A-Dream provides cost-free, medically-supervised, Montana experience, in an intimate community setting for young adults affected by cancer. Cook Children's sponsors a trip for young adults to attend Camp Mak-A-Dream's Young Adult Conference (ages 18-40) each May.
Visit Camp Mak-A-Dream

Call Joyce Bender at 682-885-2164 for more information on the Life After Cancer Program and events.

Resources

In an effort to enhance general knowledge of survivorship issues, the LACP team is also committed to clinical research through both nursing initiatives as well as those undertaken by the large national Childhood Cancer Survivor Study of which the LACP team was granted membership in 2000.

Clinical trial forms and documents can use a lot of words that you might not understand. Below are some helpful website links to help you learn more about these terms.

Projects

  • Continued to provide survivorship care in outlying clinics (Abilene, San Angelo, Midland, Waco and Grapevine).
  • Collaboration between LACP personnel, TCU nursing students and UNTHSC medical students.
  • Development of low cost limited echocardiogram guideline in collaboration with LACP/Cardiology/billing services to increase access for no insurance or high cost burden families who otherwise have not been able to get recommended echo surveillance.
  • Expansion into virtual health services for our patients so they will have access to survivorship care during the pandemic year.

January – December 2020

We are here to help.

If your child has been diagnosed, you probably have lots of questions. We can help. If you would like to speak to one of our staff members, please call our offices at 682-885-4007 and ask to speak to a member of the LACP team.