Divisional focus

Our mission is simple: We aim to improve quality of life among adults who survived all types of pediatric cancer.

By “quality of life,” we mean the ability to live long and healthy lives—physically and emotionally. To carry out our mission, Cancer Survivorship conducts clinical research to learn more about the late effects of cancer and its treatment and provides follow-up and supportive care after active treatment ends.

Clinical research - As late as the 1950s, a diagnosis of pediatric cancer was considered an almost-certain death sentence. At the time, survival rates were as low as 4 percent. Due to research conducted since then—at institutions such as St. Jude and elsewhere—survival rates for many types of pediatric cancer have reached highs of 80 percent or more in the United States.

Success and a quest - The vastly improved survival rates among pediatric cancer patients is one of the truly great success stories of modern medicine. Although researchers still strive to hit the 100 percent survival mark for all types of pediatric cancer, we now have a new quest: Finding ways to improve the health and quality of life of the adults who received treatment for pediatric cancer. At last count, there were approximately 300,000 in the United States, and their ranks are growing.

Due to improved screening, diagnosis, and treatment, this generation of cancer survivors is also living longer. This means that they are now beginning to experience the long-term effects of cancer and treatment. Growth in this population presents a unique opportunity for clinical researchers. We can now conduct the clinical investigations needed to help us understand the health issues faced by adults who received diagnosis and treatment 10, 20, and even 30 years ago. As always, what we learn will be used to improve the health and quality of life among long-term survivors. It will also be translated into more effective treatments with fewer side effects for future generations of patients.

Patient care and follow-up - After active treatment ends, patients transfer to the St. Jude LIFE & After Completion of Therapy Clinic Presented by Kmart (ACT Clinic). Here, they are evaluated annually until they are 18 years of age or until 10 years after diagnosis. At that time, ACT patients graduate and become St. Jude alumni. The St. Jude Cancer Registry staff contacts alumni periodically to check their health status.

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Contact us

Division of Cancer Survivorship
MS 735, Room S6050
St. Jude Children's Research Hospital
262 Danny Thomas Place
Memphis, TN 38105-3678

Email: melissa.hudson@stjude.org
Phone: (901) 595-5891
Fax: (901) 595-5845

Preferred contact method: email