Melissa Hudson, M.D., director of the Division of Cancer Survivorship at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, has been selected as the 2020 recipient of the Northwestern Mutual Award for Excellence in Childhood Cancer Survivorship by the American Society of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology (ASPHO). The annual award honors an individual for outstanding contributions to the field of survivorship in pediatric hematology/oncology.
“The overarching goal of survivorship research is to help survivors achieve the best possible health and quality of life after the childhood cancer experience,” Hudson says. “It has been incredibly rewarding to participate in both clinical and research efforts that have positively influenced outcomes of long-term survivors of childhood cancer and informed safer therapies for newly diagnosed children with cancer.”
Hudson joined the faculty at St. Jude in 1989. She holds the Charles E. Williams Endowed Chair of Oncology-Cancer Survivorship and is co-leader of the Cancer Control & Survivorship Program at St. Jude. She is also director of the After Completion of Therapy (ACT) Clinic, which is for long-term survivors of childhood cancer who have been treated at St. Jude. Patients move to the ACT Clinic after being cancer-free for at least two years after stopping therapy, and at least five years after diagnosis. The goal of the clinic is to help survivors stay healthy.
During Hudson’s tenure as director, the ACT Clinic evaluation has evolved to include a series of focused educational interventions to increase survivor knowledge about cancer and its associated health risks as well as motivate survivors to adopt healthy behaviors. The clinic provides screening and prevention plans for survivors that integrate the cancer experience with health care needs. The ACT Clinic has also provided a forum for numerous research initiatives evaluating complications after childhood cancer and methods of health promotion. It now monitors more than 8,000 long-term childhood cancer survivors treated on St. Jude trials.
Hudson has disseminated the St. Jude model of risk-based survivor care through her activities in the Children’s Oncology Group. She co-chairs the COG Long-Term Follow-Up Guidelines for Survivors of Childhood, Adolescent and Young Adult Cancer, and the International Late Effects of Childhood Cancer Guideline Harmonization Group. She has collaborated on a variety of health promotion initiatives targeting childhood cancer survivors. Hudson has published widely on a variety of topics, including pediatric Hodgkin lymphoma, late effects of childhood cancer treatment and health education of childhood cancer survivors.
She will be formally recognized at the 2021 ASPHO conference in Portland, Oregon.
St. Jude Children's Research Hospital
St. Jude Children's Research Hospital is leading the way the world understands, treats and cures childhood cancer and other life-threatening diseases. It is the only National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center devoted solely to children. Treatments developed at St. Jude have helped push the overall childhood cancer survival rate from 20% to 80% since the hospital opened more than 50 years ago. St. Jude freely shares the breakthroughs it makes, and every child saved at St. Jude means doctors and scientists worldwide can use that knowledge to save thousands more children. Families never receive a bill from St. Jude for treatment, travel, housing and food — because all a family should worry about is helping their child live. To learn more, visit stjude.org or follow St. Jude on social media at @stjuderesearch.