Monday, November 25, 2013

NEWS: Michigan plans Adult Sarcoma Survivorship Program

By Suzie Siegel

The University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center in Ann Arbor is fine-tuning an Adult Sarcoma Survivorship Program to deal with severe and life-threatening illnesses that arise at least two years after surgery, radiation and chemotherapy have been completed.

Dr. Larry Baker
“Survivorship care is an emerging priority in cancer care,” says Professor Laurence Baker, DO, a renowned sarcoma medical oncologist. He says the interdisciplinary program will be the first of its kind in the United States.

Sarcoma treatment can increase the risk of illnesses such as high-blood pressure, heart disease, type 2 diabetes and kidney failure later in life. It’s a hollow victory if physicians help cure the sarcoma only to have a young patient die of a heart attack a few years later, Dr. Baker said.

His program will be open to survivors between ages 18 and 50. For some, it will serve as a transition from pediatric to adult care.

At this time, it will not treat issues that are not life-threatening, such as infertility or psycho-social difficulties.

Patients will meet first with a sarcoma medical oncologist and get a comprehensive exam. The program will monitor their health, working closely with their primary care physician, other referring doctors and specialists, Dr. Baker said.

The program also will contribute to research into survivorship issues. Prospective patients can call 1-800-865-1125 for more information.

Dr. Baker spoke last month at a dinner for patient advocates organized by our executive director, Arthur Beckert. He said the Sarcoma Alliance recognizes the importance of survivorship issues and plans to expand its information on the subject next year.

The dinner kicked off the annual meeting of the Connective Tissue Oncology Society in New York.

This post is part of a series on CTOS.

To learn more about Sarcoma Alliance or donate to our mission of supporting those affected by sarcoma, please visit our website.

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