While 80% of children and young adults diagnosed with cancer will survive, more than 85% of childhood cancer survivors will experience a significant chronic health condition after treatment. Health problems that occur after treatment are called late effects and may occur throughout the life of the survivor. These late effects may include physical, psychological and social issues.
Identifying and treating these problems early helps survivors lead a full life—performing to the best of their abilities in school, growing and developing normally, feeling strong and resilient, and even having families of their own one day.
At the Aflac Cancer and Blood Disorders Center of Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, we believe survivors of childhood and adolescent cancer who have been off treatment for approximately two years should have long-term, follow-up care in a specialized survivor program. Blood and marrow transplant (BMT) survivors treated for non-cancer conditions should also participate. Through our Cancer Survivor Program, we offer:
- Multidisciplinary care focused on the survivor’s needs.
- A review of the patient’s medical history.
- Complete evaluations, including a physical exam, blood work and any other tests needed.
- A personalized plan of care based on national guidelines produced by the Children’s Oncology Group (COG).
- Education about the risks of medical problems associated with the specific cancer treatments the survivor received.
- Help with school, job or insurance problems.
- Support for any physical or emotional changes or problems.
- Opportunities to enroll in research studies that focus on survivors and the late effects of treatment.
- Beyond the Cure, an annual conference held on the last Saturday of February to educate cancer survivors and their parents about late effects, survivorship and the need for lifelong care.
Committed to Helping Patients Live Full, Healthy Lives After Treatment
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We are home to one of the leading childhood cancer survivor programs in the country, providing survivor care to 1,673 pediatric cancer survivors over the past five years. Founded in 2001, the Aflac Cancer and Blood Disorders Center has offered its multidisciplinary Cancer Survivor Program to address the unique needs of childhood cancer survivors who are at least two years off therapy.
- We have a robust Fertility Preservation Program to provide counseling and guide interventions to preserve reproductive material for future use.
- Our team developed Cancer SurvivorLink, a revolutionary web-based tool for survivors and their care teams to learn about cancer survivorship, store important health documents and share those documents with healthcare providers.
- Ann Mertens, PhD, Research Director of the Cancer Survivor Program, launched a new funding initiative with Cancer SurvivorLink to facilitate the adoption of evidence-based guidelines for the surveillance of late effects among pediatric cancer survivors through COG clinics at the national level.
- Karen Effinger, MD, MS, Pediatric Hematologist and Oncologist, initiated a funded initiative for the adaptation of a web-based behavioral intervention tool called Achieving Wellness After Kancer in Early Life (AWAKE) for use with adolescent cancer survivors and their guardians to improve a survivor’s hope, health-promoting behaviors and quality of life.
- Our staff is actively involved in the COG Survivorship working group and contributed to the Long-term Follow-up Guidelines for Survivors of Childhood, Adolescent and Young Adult Cancers.
- We are a member of a five-center consortium for intervention research on supportive care, health screening, health status, health behaviors and chemo prevention.
- We are a participant in the national Childhood Cancer Survivor Study (CCSS) that examines late effects of cancer treatment.
Read Stories of Hope and Inspiration From Our Patients
The Aflac Cancer and Blood Disorders Center is committed to excellence and innovation in pediatric cancer and blood disorders research. As Georgia’s top pediatric cancer research center, we are home to one of the largest clinical trial programs in the country, through which we offer our patients access to novel childhood cancer and blood disorders treatment options.
View our open research studies:
Receiving a cancer diagnosis for your child can be an emotional and overwhelming experience. At the Aflac Cancer and Blood Disorders Center, we are here to support you and your family. Whether treating a toddler during an emergency or helping a teen through chemotherapy treatments, we make it our mission to provide the best care—and best experience—for every child. Family is a big part of your child’s well-being. Not only are you a vital member of the healthcare team; you are a source of security and comfort.
- Karen Effinger, MD, MS, Clinical Operations Director
- Jordan Gilleland Marchak, PhD, ABPP
- Ann Mertens, PhD, Research Program Director
Advanced Practice Providers:
- Betsy Record, PNP
- Megan Pruett, PNP
- Michelle Folkert, PNP