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Survivor Link helps childhood cancer survivor with medical needs as adults

9:11 AM, Sep 19, 2013   |    comments
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Erika Edwards, NBC News

(NBC News) - An estimated one in 575 adults is a pediatric cancer survivor.

While they came out the victor in their fight against the disease, most have battle scars.

A majority of survivors will develop health conditions as adults that are directly related to their childhood cancer.

Now a web-based tool is helping these grown-up patients inform their doctors of the care they received decades ago.

Jordyn Farrell was the picture of health, an elite soccer player, before being diagnosed with ovarian cancer at the age of 15.

After several surgeries, and four grueling rounds of chemotherapy Jordyn was deemed cancer free, and still is four years later.

Now as she makes the transition from pediatric to adult doctors looking back at the treatment she received and its long-term effects are critical parts of her healthcare moving forward.

Nearly all pediatric cancer survivors face an increased risk for chronic conditions as adults, a direct result of their cancer care.

Dr. Lillian Meacham at the AFLAC Cancer Center in Atlanta developed the web program Survivor Link, where patients can upload important documents that tell new doctors their complete medical history.

"It's a tool patients can use to store their key health documents, their survivor healthcare plan which summarizes their cancer treatments, it also has their late effects risk profile," Dr. Meacham explains.

It flags potentially harmful medications or treatments.

For example, if Jordyn needs surgery her anesthesiologist shouldn't use pure oxygen.

It could be toxic to her lungs.

Jordyn also says it is helpful when she tells her new doctors the tests she needs to prevent health problems down the road.

Survivor Link is accessible all over the world.

Many universities are using the program to treat their student survivors.

The developers are now looking at its use among adult cancer survivors as well.


NBC News

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