Date of Award

12-4-2008

Degree Type

Closed Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Public Health (MPH)

Department

Public Health

First Advisor

Russ Toal, MPH - Chair

Second Advisor

Karen Wasilewski-Masker, MD, MSCR

Abstract

Survivors of childhood cancer are a relatively new phenomenon in the medical world. The introduction of treatment protocols in the 1970s started a trend in curing children of cancer that historically had been a death sentence. Under these treatment protocols children were given different treatment regimens based on past research that helped remove cancerous cells from their bodies, but were later found to be the cause of treatment related morbidities years into the future; for most survivors roughly ten to 20 years post treatment. These morbidities, commonly called late-effects, are the prime reason that survivors of childhood cancer need to participate in survivorship care. Survivors of childhood cancer are particularly vulnerable to late-effects because the majority of them receive their treatment at a time when their bodies are still growing and developing. Survivorship care services vary by site, but all maintain the common goals of providing long-term follow up for the survivor and education about the ways in which treatments may affect a survivors’ health as they age. Similar to many other facets of healthcare and medicine, there are many populations who do not participate in survivorship care. The purpose of this research is to identify possible barriers to care, assess the level of impact these barriers have upon the survivor’s potential for participation and provide suggestions as to how these barriers can be mitigated. Additionally, this research highlights areas that need further research and analysis.

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