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Treatment advances in recent decades mean that the ranks of childhood cancer survivors have swelled to more than 320,000 individuals nationwide. St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital has led the field in developing major research programs that follow survivors’ progress for decades after their treatment.
For those who have already marked a decade or more as cancer survivors, St. Jude is in the midst of one of the most ambitious studies yet of the long-term impact of childhoodcancer and its treatment. In an unprecedented effort, select adult survivors, whether they are 28, 48 or 68, are returning to St. Jude for actual clinic visits—in the hospital where they were treated as children.
The St. Jude LIFE study is in the process of inviting more than 4,000 alumni cancer survivors who were treated at the hospital to return for on-campus, clinical evaluations. The objectives of St. Jude LIFE are to describe the occurrence and timing of selected late effects as the age increases for the survivor population, as well as to identify treatment, genetic, demographic, behavioral and psychosocial related predictors.
Below is a letter from Dr. Melissa Hudson, Director of the Division of Cancer Survivorship, and principal investigator of the St. Jude Life study.
Dear St. Jude Alumni,
Over the years, I've managed to keep up with many of you even after you graduate from our care. Hearing about your personal successes and challenges is one of the highlights of our annual Survivors Day. When you see all the hugging that goes on, it's clear that St. Jude alumni share a special bond. You experienced many of the same things as children...a diagnosis of a life-threatening illness, chemotherapy, radiation, and other types of treatment. And, of course, the experience of growing stronger through it all.
Today, you continue to share many experiences, including the late effects of the treatments that saved your lives. That's why St. Jude is launching a new study. The aim of the study—St. Jude Life—is to help you stay healthy throughout your adult lives. We plan to do so by helping you learn about issues that affect your health and ways to stay on top of them.
Some of you may have already heard about the study or received an invitation to take part in it. Others will hear more when the study team mails you details about St. Jude Life. We know you probably have lots of questions—about the study and about changes to St. Jude. That’s one of the main reasons we’ve launched this website.
Here, we answer some of the most frequently asked questions about the study. If you don’t find an answer to your questions here, please call 1.866.278.5833 and ask for Sheila (extension 3482) or Michelle (extension 6378).
Melissa Hudson, MD
St. Jude Life