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Childhood cancer can be a lifelong bully

It’s estimated one out of every 250 adults aged 20 to 39 is a survivor of childhood cancer, says Dr. Maria Spavor, medical director of the Kids with Cancer Society Survivor Program at the Stollery Children’s Hospital. The clinic, which runs Fridays and has 1,000 patients, is unique in that it follows childhood cancer survivors starting two years after their therapy into adulthood to screen for late effects. Few are ever discharged. Most other clinics care for the children until they’re 18, when they become adult oncology patients under doctors who are already overloaded. Spavor says pediatric oncologists should be responsible for kids as they grow older, since two-thirds of survivors have at least one late effect related to the treatment they received, and 25 per cent of those face severe impacts.

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