People in Motion
Imagine 600 young adults at a fun fair - ONE of them is a childhood cancer survivor!
Children with cancer currently have a better prognosis than ever: survival rates are approaching 80 percent. Accordingly, a significant number of patients treated with anticancer drugs during childhood are now entering adulthood. The need to take care of long-term survivors has emerged as a new topic of increasing scientific importance and of essential interest for public health and society. Survivors of childhood cancer may face long-term difficulties to reintegrate successfully into life and may be at higer risk of developing side effects of the cancer therapy in later life. Taken this aspect into consideration, the patients' quality of life can be severely impaired.
However, not all late effects are necessarily negative. Some survivors experience a post-traumatic growth (resilience), feeling that they've grown as individuals after having dealt with cancer and having found some positive changes in their lives because of it.
It is important to recognise that after the intensive treatment of their life-threatening diseases, children and adolescents need support to reintegrate into society. Former childhood cancer patients must not face limitations or restrictions in their professional and social life.
The current situation of childhood cancer survivors
The presentation was held by Dorothee Schmid, psychologist and childhood cancer survivor, at the event "Understanding cancer - saving lives", organised by the CCRI.
Interview of childhood cancer survivor and participant of Rainbow Tour 2009
The German Childhood Cancer Association was partner of the science communication project DIRECT, coordinated by the CCRI. While the CCRI organised the Grossglockner tour with childhood cancer survivors, the German partner organised the Rainbow Tour. Childhood cancer survivors cycled about 600 km from Mannheim to Cologne, Germany, in one week. During their tour which is organised every year, they traditionally stop at children's hospitals to visit young cancer patients and their families on the cancer wards. Their message is: "You can make it, just like we did."