As a 38 year survivor of Ewing’s Sarcoma [and] a heart transplant recipient due to heart damage at the hands of doxorubicin [and] chest radiation, surviving survivorship has been challenging at times. Through it all, however, the call on my life [professionally and personally] has been to raise awareness about the survivor’s risk for late effects within a wellness framework.
1) 40% of cancer survivors have at least 1 life-threatening condition
2) 25% of cancer survivors have 3 or more chronic health conditions
In June 2013, the Wall Street Journal along with several news outlets reported on a study of 1700 survivors of childhood cancer conducted by Melissa Hudson, MD of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. The second sentence of the WSJ piece reads as follows:
“Researchers found in a large study if adult survivors of childhood cancer, that more that 95% suffered from a chronic health condition by the age of 45, including pulmonary, hearing, cardiac, and other problems related either to their cancer or the cancer treatment.”
Phrases such as “extraordinarily high” [and] “greater than anticipated” gave me the impression that the researchers, themselves, were shocked to some degree by the prevalence of late effects among survivors.
After 38 years of survivorship, I must confess to you that I was not surprised: disappointed, yes; surprised, no.
Resilient was produced as a tool to educate [and] equip, inform [and] inspire survivors, healthcare providers, and medical educators with regard to the potential late effects of cancer treatment because no one should be cured of cancer only to succumb to long term complications of curative therapies.
Cure is NOT enough.