2008-04-25 / Top Stories

Hillary Clinton: New Bill Improves Lives Of Young Cancer Survivors

Senator Hillary Clinton at a visit to Broad Channel to honor veterans of the Korean War two years ago. With Clinton at that time was Assemblywoman Audrey Pheffer and other local dignitaries. Wave file photo by Howard Schwach.
Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton has introduced legislation to improve the lives of childhood cancer survivors. The Pediatric, Adolescent and Young Adult Cancer Survivorship and Quality of Life Act, which was also introduced in the House of Representatives by Congresswoman Hilda L. Solis (D-CA), would expand cancer control and surveillance programs, increase research in survivorship, and develop model systems of care and monitoring for cancer survivors- some of the steps recommended by the Institute of Medicine (IOM) in its 2005 report on the needs of cancer survivors, "From Cancer Patient to Cancer Survivor: Lost in Transition."

"We have taken tremendous strides in treating childhood cancer, and more and more young people are beating the illness. But for the tens of thousands of survivors who feel lasting effects from their struggle, we must go a step further. This bill will improve the lives of childhood cancer survivors by supporting cancer control and monitoring programs, follow-up care, and survivorship clinics so that as we continue the fight against childhood cancer, we can also support the survivors who experience late effects of the disease," said Senator Clinton.

"A diagnosis of cancer is only the beginning of a life-long battle for a child with cancer," said Congresswoman Solis. "Even after receiving treatment, childhood cancer survivors, especially children from underserved communities, face tremendous health challenges and continue to fight for the ability to live a long, healthy, and happy life. I am pleased that my colleague, Senator Clinton, is introducing this important legislation that will address challenges for an often overlooked population of brave survivors- our children."

Every year nearly 20,000 children are diagnosed with cancer, and successful treatment has resulted in more than 270,000 childhood cancer survivors. However, according to the IOM, more than two thirds of childhood cancer survivors experience late effects, which include complications, disabilities, or adverse outcomes which can impair survivors' health and quality of life. In addition, there continue to be racial and ethnic disparities in the diagnosis and treatment of pediatric cancers, including the ability to access follow-up care.

The Pediatric, Adolescent and Young Adult Cancer Survivorship and Quality of Life Act follows the recommendations of the IOM and introduces programs to help improve the quality of life for childhood cancer survivors. Senator Clinton's legislation would:

Expand cancer control programs, including surveillance programs and comprehensive control programs of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, to improve the health status of childhood cancer survivors;

Establish grants at the National Institutes of Health to conduct research on disparities in survivorship, train health professionals in the delivery of follow-up care to childhood cancer survivors, and develop model systems of monitoring and caring for cancer survivors;

Create grants to establish and operate childhood survivorship clinics for comprehensive long-term follow up services for childhood cancer survivors; and,

Establish grants for childhood cancer organizations to improve physical and psychosocial care for childhood

Cancer survivors.

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