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New programs address long-term health effects of adult cancer survivors

Because of advances in detection and treatment, people today often live many years after a cancer diagnosis.

And as these survivors live longer, trends in “late effects” of cancer treatment are becoming apparent. Survivors may have special health concerns after treatment because the often-harsh therapies needed to kill cancer cells can take a toll on normal cells and organs, too.

The Masonic Cancer Center’s new Cancer Outcomes and Survivorship Research Program will tackle these issues head on. Directed by Joseph Neglia, M.D., M.P.H., and Beth Virnig, Ph.D., this program aims to promote collaboration among University investigators conducting survivorship research and educate patients and health-care providers about special health considerations affecting cancer patients and survivors.

Complementing this research program is the University of Minnesota Physicians-run Long-Term Follow-Up Clinic, which previously was for childhood cancer survivors only but is now seeing survivors of adult cancers as well.

“While we anticipate cancer survivors will lead healthy, active lives, some will develop complications from their chemotherapy and other treatments,” says Anne Blaes, M.D., director of the Long-Term Follow-Up Clinic adulthood cancer survivor program.

Some of these complications include second cancers, cardiovascular issues, lung and bone problems, and infertility.

As University physicians notice these medical trends in their patients, they take their observations to the laboratory to find out exactly what’s happening—and then bring their findings back into the clinic to better serve their patients.

Learn more about the Cancer Outcomes and Survivorship Research Program at www.cancer.umn. edu/research/ programs/cos.html. To make an appointment at the Long-Term Follow-Up Clinic, call 612-625-5411.

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