Medical Minute: Life After Cancer

According to the American Cancer Society, about 9,000 children are diagnosed with cancer each year. Advances in the treatment are helping these young patients beat their disease with incredible odds

No matter what Chelsea Haynes is doing, every minute is one to remember.

"I'm thinking of setting up a little swimming pool and getting like a bunch of cans of shaving cream and running around the yard spraying each other. That'd be fun," says Chelsea.

When Chelsea was 18 months, she had one experience that she'd like to forget. She was diagnosed with cancer.

"Chelsea really should not be here, and she shouldn't have survived, but now that she has, we have all these things to deal with. The upper parts of both kidneys were damaged. She came down with rickets. She has a huge discrepancy between her right and left legs," says Clair Hayes, Chelsea’s mom.

"We're incredibly proud of our successes in pediatric oncology, but if you scratch the surface, it's a success with some failure," says Lisa Diller, Pediatric Oncologist.

While the children survive, Lisa Diller says the higher doses of toxic therapies lead to life-long concerns, including learning disabilities, hearing loss, heart disease, secondary tumors and infertility.

Researchers are now treating some types of lymphoma without radiation to avoid radiation-induced tumors, and for women who have had previous chest radiation; they're starting mammograms earlier, all with one goal.

"Change current therapies, so that 20 or 30 years from now, we'll have fewer patients with hearing loss, with second tumors."

Chelsea has a host of doctors she sees regularly, but most of her time these days gets to be spent enjoying the life she has.

For more information, contact:

The Patient and Family Resource Center
617-632-3900

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