This summer, I worked as a clinical research assistant under the direction of Dr. Lisa Schwartz at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia to explore the potential influence that a digital app intervention can have on the management of late effects by the adolescent and young adult cancer survivor population.
While it is commonly known that chemotherapy, radiation, and surgeries are all procedures for pediatric cancer treatment, what are perhaps much less known are the late effects that cancer survivors often must deal with post-treatment. Such late effects encompass a multitude of complications including cardiac, endocrine, and neurologic effects as a consequence of cancer treatment. While pediatric cancer treatment is rapidly advancing with the plethora of technological and medical advancements, there is still much need for aiding patients with managing late effects throughout survivorship.
Survivorship care plans (SCP’s) are documents that encompass all of a patient’s treatments associated with their cancer and the consequent risks they should watch out for, as well as recommendations for how to best take control of and manage their health to maximize quality of life. While it is common in the adult world for survivors to receive a survivorship care plan post-treatment, this is still a novel idea in the pediatric world and survivorship care plans have yet to be implemented in clinical practice.