Childhood cancer survivors and families are often pressed for time during clinic visits. Although they are given written material on late effects of cancer treatment, the materials may not be read.
An effort by Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey to educate pediatric cancer survivors is receiving a boost from The National Children's Cancer Society (NCCS) in the form of a 'Beyond the Cure' educational survivorship conference grant. The $2,000 award will support the upcoming Survivors' Family Education Night, an annual conference held by the LITE Program at Rutgers Cancer Institute that provides education on the late effects of cancer treatment in a more social-celebratory atmosphere.
‘Long-term evaluation, support, and health education for the growing number of childhood cancer survivors is provided at the LITE Program at Rutgers Cancer Institute.
The LITE Program provides long-term evaluation, support, and health education for the growing number of childhood cancer survivors. The program utilizes a multidisciplinary team approach to provide services for this population, including a pediatric hematologist/oncologist, advanced practice nurse, social worker, nutritionist, treatment nurses and access to medical specialists related to the management of long-term, late effects. Along with collaborating with experts from Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital (the flagship hospital of Rutgers Cancer Institute), and Children's Specialized Hospital, the LITE team also works with medical practitioners within survivors' own communities.
"We have found that an interactive, in-person presentation in a more relaxed, non-clinical setting has the advantage of reaching a larger group of survivors," notes Rutgers Cancer Institute pediatric hematologist/oncologist and LITE Program Medical Director Margaret Masterson, who is also an associate professor of pediatrics at Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School. "Over time, the education night also has become an anticipated annual reunion with repeat attendance of many long-term survivors," she adds.
Past programs have focused on such topics as cardiac effects, fertility, stress management, neurocognitive late effects and 504 school accommodations. This year's event to be held later this week will address physical fitness and nutrition with experts from Rutgers Cancer Institute.
Katie Devine, a Rutgers Cancer Institute behavioral scientist specializing in the psychosocial aspects of pediatric cancer survivorship, is exploring a mobile health intervention to improve physical activity for adolescent and young adult cancer survivors. Dr. Devine, who is also an assistant professor of medicine at Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, will educate survivors about the importance of regular physical activity and provide tools and resources to help improve their activity and fitness levels. Lori Magoulas, a clinical dietitian/nutritionist who works with patients in the Pediatric Hematology/Oncology Program at Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey, will discuss the importance of good nutrition and healthy eating habits, as well as provide strategies and resources for survivors and their families.