Long-Term Follow-Up Clinical Care
Approximately 80 percent of children with cancer will survive into adulthood. However, most experience some type of late effect from either the cancer or its treatment. Children's Long-Term Follow-Up (LTFU) Clinic monitors cancer survivors for late effects and addresses any problems that may occur. Our goal is to keep survivors of cancer healthy and to educate them about their health risks. Children's oncologists recommend at least one visit to the clinic after their treatment is complete. Any survivor of childhood cancer, regardless of age or where they were treated during childhood, is encouraged to visit annually for 10 years after completing treatment.
Why Choose Children's?
Experts work together for your child. Children's recommends visits to the LTFU Clinic for any survivor of childhood cancer, regardless of age or where they were treated during childhood. A multidisciplinary team at the clinic diagnoses and treats late effects from the treatment of cancer, such as compromised lung function, heart problems, growth issues, impaired fertility, joint problems and learning disabilities. Your child's care begins with the cancer and blood disorders team, and if necessary, involves more extensive services within Children's Hospitals & Clinics of MN such as pediatric gynecologists, neuropsychologists, endocrinologists, and cardiologists who are experienced in treating former childhood cancer survivors.
Access to the latest information about cancer survivorship. Children's participates in the Childhood Cancer Survivor Study, which follows more than 14,000 survivors to identify late effects and inform care guidelines. These guidelines are intended to increase a survivor's quality of life and decrease the high costs of healthcare for pediatric cancer survivors that may be related to complications from treatment.
Such guidelines can also:
- Promote healthy lifestyles
- Provide ongoing monitoring of your child's health status over time
- Help identify late effects early on
- Provide timely intervention for late effects
About the LTFU Clinic
Who is eligible to be seen in the clinic?
If you are a cancer survivor who is at least five years from diagnosis and/or two years from the end of therapy, you are encouraged to be seen in the clinic.
How do I schedule an appointment?
Letters are sent to all patients and families who are eligible to be seen in the clinic. An appointment should be scheduled with the clinic's nurse practitioner or physician. LTFU appointments take at least one hour, possibly longer depending on tests needed. After the appointment is scheduled, a questionnaire is sent asking for information on the patient's current medical and psychosocial health. Please bring the completed questionnaire to the appointment.
What should I expect at the visit?
Our goal is to provide information related to your child's diagnoses and answer any questions you or your child may have. Patients are encouraged to follow up yearly in the clinic to discuss any new issues. Referrals to other specialties are made as needed. Individual needs are discussed at the visit or can be reviewed before the visit if a completed questionnaire is returned before the visit. This may allow specialty appointments to be scheduled on the same day as the LTFU appointment. The following information is reviewed during the LTFU Clinic visit:
- Review of your child's cancer diagnosis and treatment.
- Review of your child's medical history, hospitalizations and complications during treatment, and recommendations for preventive and ongoing care.
- A routine physical exam plus review of lab work and other tests.
- Answers to questions you have about your child's cancer and its treatment, plus explanation of special risks your child may face.
- Review of each chemotherapy drug and dosage, including potential side effects and indications for monitoring and/or treating.
- Information about health risk behaviors related to treatment (i.e., anthracycline and lifting weights, binge drinking and smoking).
- Self-breast or testicular exam instruction if patients are unfamiliar with these procedures.
- Psychosocial, insurance and financial issues are discussed as needed.
- Advice and assistance with school, job and/or insurance issues.
- Information about current or ongoing research studies that test new treatments for late effects.
- Optimal health recommendations for follow-up, including nutrition, exercise, sleep and healthy behavior.
- A summary of the visit and any treatment recommendations.
What happens after the visit?
A summary letter detailing the patient's visit is sent to the patient/family, the primary care provider and any involved specialty providers.
If you are a family member looking for a Children's hematologist or oncologist or wanting to schedule an appointment, please call our clinic at Children's – Minneapolis at (612) 813-5940.
If you are a health professional looking for consultation or referral information, please call Children's Physician Access at 1-866-755-2121 (toll-free) and ask for the on-call hematologist/oncologist.