Now cancer free, Alejandra manages late effects of chemotherapy treatment with help of Late Effects Program.
The health care team at JJCCC recognizes that a cancer patient’s journey does not end with their last treatment and continues to care for its pediatric cancer patients into adulthood. JJCCC’s STAR (Survivors’ Treatment Assessment and Resource) Program helps patients who are no longer undergoing treatment, understand and manage the late effects of cancer therapy following surgery, chemotherapy and radiation.
The visit includes a comprehensive evaluation of the patient's physical health, including medical history review, physical exam and screening tests. Education and counseling on late effects of treatment, a thorough treatment summary. Recommendations and explanations are given to long-term follow-up patients and their families. Healthy lifestyle behaviors are stressed in regards to diet, exercise, environmental exposure and stress. Psychosocial needs are also addressed to help assess coping skills and academic and social development.
The STAR care team screens, identifies, diagnoses and treats the late effects of cancer treatment as early as possible and educates patients and their families about the long-term health implications associated with childhood cancer survival.
The ultimate goal is to follow patients yearly to provide assessment and treatment of late effects and to act as a referral program to direct patients to services, treatment and community resources. While not every patient returns once a year, all of JJCCC’s former patients are enrolled in STAR and return at least every two years, with some returning even though they live outside of Southern California.
Patients who did not receive treatment at JJCCC at Miller Children’s can also be referred to the Late Effects Program by physicians, school nurses, health care professionals and other health-related community agencies.