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The power of phone calls for protecting the heart

Melissa Hudson, MD

Certain treatments for childhood cancer, while effective, can lead to serious heart problems later in life. Thus, for childhood cancer survivors, regular heart checkups can save lives. Yet despite the potential benefits, many survivors fail to get recommended checkups on schedule.

So, St. Jude researchers and their colleagues worked with 472 at-risk survivors to try a new approach. Results from the study showed that two brief phone counseling sessions from a nurse practitioner, added to a written care plan, doubled the chances of survivors getting recommended heart screenings.

“This intervention offers a model for how to motivate other cancer survivors to be more proactive about their health,” said Melissa Hudson, MD, of St. Jude Oncology. Researchers are now working on ways to implement the approach more widely.

The findings were published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

November 3, 2014

Read the news release