'St. Jude Life' studies after-effects of childhood cancer surviv - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

'St. Jude Life' studies after-effects of childhood cancer survivors

(Photo Source: WMC Action News 5) (Photo Source: WMC Action News 5)
(Photo Source: WMC Action News 5) (Photo Source: WMC Action News 5)
MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - As childhood cancer survival rates continue to grow, that means more survivors and an entirely new aspect of research at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. 
 
"Obviously, initially, the most important thing is the cure," said Robyn Karlage, senior exercise specialist at St. Jude. "However, the cure is getting much more attainable. Obviously, we save a lot of kids here. Now, we have to think about the rest of their lives."
 
St. Jude Life was developed in 2007 to study the life of St. Jude patients after they are cured.

"It's so rewarding to see these kids grow up when their parents' initial fear was, 'My child is going to die,'" Karlage said. "The bad thing is, they have a lot of physical problems, whether it's heart, lung problems, or physical limitations."
 
Karlage helps give former patients a full physical assessment, and evaluates health problems that are a direct result of their cancer treatment.
 
"We need to figure out the problems they're having, how can we deal with it, what can we tell them or do for them so they are living a better quality of life," Karlage said.
 
St. Jude patients are eligible for life studies 10 years after diagnosis, and get paid for their participation.
 
"The average age of the St. Jude Life population is mid-30s I believe," Karlage said. "These are patients having physical ailments that you would see in a 60 or 70-year-old."
 
The results of the research helps the St. Jude mission come full circle in treating current patients with cancer.
 
"We need to figure out is there something we need to do with our treatment or interventions earlier, when they are actually being treated, that could prevent this in the future," explained Karlage.

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