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Care and research on late effects of childhood cancer

More and more children with cancer are cured thanks to better treatment and care. Currently, there are more than 12,000 survivors in the Netherlands for at least five years. Previous research by the LATER group shows that 70% of all survivors develop one or more serious health issues. These so-called 'late effects' are evaluated and treated in the LATER outpatient clinic at the Princess Máxima Center. 'We can very effectively link current care for children with knowledge from scientific research on late effects.'
Dr. Rianne Koopman, internist and head of the LATER outpatient clinic, and prof. dr. Leontien Kremer, professor of late effects at the Princess Máxima Center, see that increasing attention to LATER care and research is leading to a continuous improvement in the health and quality of life of survivors of childhood cancer. Leontien Kremer: 'The combination of care and scientific research at the Máxima Center is a unique opportunity. We can effectively tailor the current care for children and according to the latest scientific insights.' Rianne Koopman: 'It is a great challenge to link the two so that we can make better decisions when considering the chances of survival and the risk of late effects.'

LATER care and research
Survivors are more likely to have health problems than their peers. Researchers and clinicians at the Máxima Center work together to develop guidelines so that better care comes from scientific knowledge. During the development and updating of guidelines it also becomes clear what knowledge is lacking. For example: what happens - in the long term - to a 10-year-old who receives a bone marrow transplant from a 40-year-old? How can we reduce late effects through better lifestyle? And how do we detect children and adults at risk of late effects early on, so that they can receive treatment for example for heart damage? Rianne Koopman: ‘Scientifically supporting the best possible clinical decisions start with literally meeting each other.’

Leontien Kremer says: 'The connection between care and research has always been strong in the field of late effects. With our LATER group, we can further improve the cross-fertilization between the two by bringing people together. In this way, we can deliver even better LATER scientific research and LATER care and improve the quality of life of survivors.'