Once your treatment is finished, its time to celebrate.
You'll be back at school, able to see your friends, and hopefully, the time spent in Hospital will fade from memory.
To ensure you stay healthy, we have a long-term follow-up clinic (LTFU) to provide specialised care for patients who have completed treatment more than five years ago for a cancer diagnosed before 18 years of age.
Patients are seen every two to three years and can be referred to the clinic by their oncologist or GP. When you are ready, will be discharged to follow-up in conjunction with your GP or transition to an adult service.
We want to ensure that you are well informed about all aspects of your medical history, that you understand the recommendations for long-term health care, are linked in with any specialist services, and that you have a good working relationship with a GP. We support you in achieving this.
Why you need follow-up care in a specialised clinic
Survival rates for childhood cancer have risen dramatically over the last 30 years from 25% to almost 80%. However, treatment for childhood cancer is often complicated and may include chemotherapy, radiotherapy, surgery or a combination of therapies, which can potentially cause long-term health issues for young people.
Complications can include problems with growth, learning, hearing, vision, the heart, lungs, thyroid gland, mood, quality of life, reproductive system, bones and joints, digestive tract, kidneys and secondary cancers. Many of these complications may not appear for many years after treatment and survivors remain at life-long risk of developing some of them.
The LTFU clinic monitors patients' health and provides important education about their treatments, the potential impact on their health, and ways to stay as healthy as possible. Patients are provided with a comprehensive record of their treatments and recommendations for long-term follow-up.
What happens at the clinic?
Clinics are staffed with clinical nurse consultants, psychologists, and social workers, as well as a team of doctors specialising in paediatric and adult endocrinology, male hormone specialists, radiation oncologists, gynaecologists and fertility specialists.
The clinics are held twice a month and are located in the Oncology Treatment Centre on level two of the Hospital.
What happens at the appointment?
Depending on your diagnosis and treatment received, a series of tests will be organised on clinic day. These commonly include a blood test (full blood count, electrolytes, thyroid function and hormones) and an echocardiogram. Some patients also require a thyroid ultrasound, a lung function test, an eye review or a hearing test.
A treatment summary is prepared and given to you on the day. It's an especially important document for when you travel, relocate or move into the adult health system.
After the clinic visit, a report is sent to your GP (copied to you, your oncologist and other relevant specialists) detailing the outcomes of the clinic visit. The report will include your results, follow-up appointments and instructions. Another appointment is scheduled to ensure continuity of care.