Survivorship begins after the disease (childhood acute lymphoblastic leukemia) is diagnosed. People who have been taking treatments and whose disease condition has been cured post-treatment are also considered survivors. Survivorship is the most complicated part of cancer as it is different for each person. Cancer survivors can experience a mix of emotions. As a result, they may portray strong feelings like relief, joy, fear, concern, or guilt. Survivors can feel stressed once their frequent visits to the hospital and meetings with the health care team end. They might begin to experience a lack of security or support since the relationship built with the health care team provides them with a sense of support, comfort, and protection.
Coping with such emotional distress is one of the primary goals of survivorship. Some of the coping strategies include measures such as recognizing the difficulties that your family is experiencing, solution-oriented thinking, requesting and accepting help from others, and feeling at ease with the course of action the family takes. Patients with childhood acute lymphoblastic leukemia can improve their future quality by following instructions for good health into and through adulthood, such as limiting alcohol, not smoking, managing stress, and eating well. The treatment survivorship serves as a solid motivation to initiate healthy changes in lifestyle and also to maintain good health and live a cancer-free life.
Survivorship for Childhood Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia
Survivorship can have different meanings for different people. But commonly, it refers to;
- Having no signs of cancer post-treatment
- Cancer survivorship initiates from the moment of diagnosis and continues during treatment and throughout life.
Survivorship is the most complicated part of cancer as it is different for each person. Some people get cancer treatment for a long time to cure and prevent a recurrence, while some treat cancer as a chronic disease. Survivors usually experience a mixture of strong feelings, joy, guilt, concern, and fear. Some people start to appreciate life after a cancer diagnosis and accept themselves, while others become uncertain about their health and vitality 1.
Support groups are present for the parents of children diagnosed with central nervous system tumors. This will also provide you with an opportunity to talk with people who have had similar first-hand experiences.
Relationships formed with the cancer care team impart a sense of security during treatment, and people miss this source of support. This can be especially true when new worries and challenges surface over time, such as late treatment effects, emotional challenges including fear of recurrence, and financial and workplace issues. Every survivor has individual problems and challenges. An excellent first step is recognizing your fears and talking about them with any challenge.
Effective Coping Mechanisms and Lifestyle Changes
Effective coping requires the following:
- Thinking through solutions
- Understanding the challenge you are facing
- Feeling comfortable with the action you choose
- Asking for the support of others
Children who had acute lymphoblastic leukemia can improve the quality of their future by following instructions for good health into and through adulthood, such as
- Limiting alcohol
- Not smoking
- Managing stress
- Eating well
Regular physical activity can help reconstruct your strength and energy level. The health care team can provide an appropriate exercise plan based upon your needs, physical abilities, and fitness level 2.
- 1.Dixon SB, Chen Y, Yasui Y, et al. Reduced Morbidity and Mortality in Survivors of Childhood Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia: A Report From the Childhood Cancer Survivor Study. JCO. Published online October 10, 2020:3418-3429. doi:10.1200/jco.20.00493
- 2.Pannier ST, Mann K, Warner EL, et al. Survivorship care plan experiences among childhood acute lymphoblastic leukemia patients and their families. BMC Pediatr. Published online April 13, 2019. doi:10.1186/s12887-019-1464-0