Overview

About 26 million people will have completed cancer treatment and moved into the survivorship phase by 2040. To meet the unique needs of this patient population, we must understand how pediatric cancer and its treatments affect these individuals as they age. My work focuses on answering this line of questioning and providing interventions which improve health outcomes. 

Science Team

Hudson Research Summary

Advances in pediatric cancer treatment have increased the survival rates for many children with pediatric cancers and improved the quality of life for these children during treatment. However, we must take into account that cancer and its treatments can cause long-term effects that impact the overall health of these individuals as they age.

I am involved in research and programs which identify risks and promote healthy aging in survivors of pediatric cancers. 

After Completion of Therapy Clinic

The cancer survivor population continues to grow at a rapid pace. It is predicted that approximately 26 million people will have completed cancer treatment and moved into the survivorship phase by 2040. The St. Jude After Completion of Therapy (ACT) Clinic was established to provide survivors with resources that promote overall health, social functioning, and educational and vocational achievement. The ACT Clinic is also a suitable environment for observational studies and health promotion intervention trials.

St. Jude LIFE

In 2007, the St. Jude LIFE study was established with the goal of learning more about the health outcomes of aging adults who survived pediatric cancers. The longitudinal nature of this study allows us to gather a comprehensive view of survivorship. This informative study has identified that survivors of pediatric cancers may be at an increased risk for frailty, certain comorbidities, premature mortality, and they may experience earlier onsets of certain conditions that typically appear later in adulthood. The results from this study have allowed us to find targets that can be explored or leveraged to improve the health of this population.

We are also using these data to analyze potential disparities that may influence health outcomes. This newer focus gives us the opportunity to identify and overcome barriers that might otherwise impact the implementation of a survivor’s long-term treatment. 

Guideline development

I work with the Children’s Oncology Group and the International Guideline Harmonization Group to develop a unified strategy to identify health risks that may impact pediatric cancer survivors, provide education about these risks and make tailored recommendations for treatment. The creation and dissemination of these guidelines to the healthcare community as a whole

provides practitioners with useful information, such as evidence-based guidelines for the surveillance of long-term health complications, so that optimal long-term patient care is realized. 

Childhood Cancer Survivor Study

I serve as a member of the Education Committee for the Childhood Cancer Survivor Study (CCSS). The CCSS includes clinical investigators interested in cancer survivorship research, specifically the long-term effects of cancer and its treatment. We aim to encourage cancer survivors, provide education on the health risks imposed by cancer and its treatments, offer resources to improve health outcomes and actively participate in survivorship research. 

Selected Publications


About Melissa Hudson, MD

Dr. Hudson received her MD from the University of Texas Medical School in Houston, Texas. She then completed a fellowship in pediatric hematology/oncology at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center before coming to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in 1989. Dr. Hudson is the Director of the Cancer Survivorship Division in the Department of Oncology and holds the Charles E. Williams Endowed Chair of Oncology-Cancer Survivorship. She also serves as the Director of the After Completion of Therapy Program. Dr. Hudson’s research interests are focused on understanding the long-term effects of cancer and its treatments on survivors of pediatric cancers and promoting healthy aging.

Dr. Hudson has been recognized by the American Association of Physicians and is a Fellow of the American Society of Clinical Oncology. She has received numerous awards for her work including the American Association Team Science Award (2009 and 2019), the American Society of Pediatric Hematology Oncology and Northwestern Mutual Award for Excellence in Childhood Cancer Survivorship (2020) and the American Association for Cancer Research – Joseph H. Burchenal Award for outstanding achievement in clinical cancer research (2023).

Melissa Hudson

Contact us

Melissa M. Hudson, MD
Member, St. Jude Faculty
Cancer Survivorship Division
Department of Oncology
MS 735, Room S6046

St. Jude Children's Research Hospital

262 Danny Thomas Place
Memphis, TN, 38105-3678 USA
(901) 595-5891 melissa.hudson@stjude.org

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262 Danny Thomas Place
Memphis, TN, 38105-3678 USA
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