The Midwest Cancer Alliance on Tuesday announced the formal opening of a clinic designed especially for adult survivors of childhood cancer.
“This program helps give pediatric cancer survivors access to long-term care tailored to their unique needs," Dr. Becky Lowry, the new clinic’s medical director, said in a prepared statement.
Survivors of childhood cancer, she said, often are prone to secondary cancers, fertility issues, cardiovascular disease, weakened immune systems and endocrine problems.
Lowry also is an assistant professor of internal medicine at the University of Kansas Medical Center.
The clinic is a project of the cancer alliance, Children’s Mercy Hospital and KU Medical Center. It’s housed in the Physicians Medical Office Building on the KU Medical Center campus in Kansas City, Kan.
A ribbon-cutting ceremony is planned for 5:30 p.m. Nov. 6.
The Survivorship Transition Clinic is meant to complement the Children’s Mercy “Survive and Thrive” program, which is geared toward cancer patients who are not yet 18. The new clinic is for patients who are 18 and older.
“We have patients in their 50s as well as young adults who are college age and were seen within the past year or two in a children’s hospital or clinic,” said Kyla Alsman, a nurse at the new clinic.
The new clinic’s staff, Alsman said, reviews patients’ medical records to develop a treatment summary. It serves as the basis for knowing how to monitor for health problems after treatment, she said, and is shared with the patient and his or her primary care physician.
Laura Long, a spokesperson for the cancer alliance, said the new clinic is one of only six of its kind in the nation. The alliance is the outreach arm of the University of Kansas Cancer Center.
T.J. Horton, who was first diagnosed with leukemia when he was 4 years old, welcomed news of the clinic’s formal opening.
“I think it’s a great idea,” said Horton, who's now 34 and has been in remission since he was 8. “Once you’re in remission, you start thinking you’re healthy and you never want to go through that again. I’ve had some issues that, fortunately, my wife and I were able to work out, but it sure would have been nice if we’d have had someone there to lead us in the right direction.”
Horton, athletic trainer at Garden City Community College, was the subject of a recent feature story in the Garden City Telegram.
“I think this will be a wonderful opportunity for guiding teenagers through the transition into adulthood, and give them a place to go to get answers when things come up later in life,” Horton said.
For more information about the clinic, call the cancer alliance at (877) 253-4477.