Unlike 50 years ago, the chances of surviving a childhood cancer today are better than ever. While most survivors enjoy good health after their cure, some develop "late effects," which are chronic medical conditions or emotional difficulties that appear years after treatment.

The High-Five Clinic at Cleveland Clinic Children's is a long-term follow-up clinic for children and young adults who have reached the point of five years from a diagnosis of cancer and who have been off therapy for at least two years.

Working together, hand in hand. Only specially trained physicians and nurses care for our childhood cancer survivor patients. If we identify a condition or problem, we immediately refer that patient to the right Cleveland Clinic specialist for care. In addition, we work with our patients' primary care physicians to make them aware of issues that may need close monitoring.

The High-Five Clinic team also counsels childhood cancer patients who are in the process of undergoing cancer therapy, as well as their families, to educate them about late effects and the importance of post-therapy follow-up care.

Ensuring survivor success. By identifying and managing late effects in survivors, the professionals within the clinic help patients to move forward confidently with their lives, armed with the information they need to preserve their health.

Late effects can be a result of surgery, chemotherapy, radiation and bone marrow transplants. The effects vary depending upon the type of cancer, the course of treatment and quite possibly the age of the child during treatment, among other things. Some examples of late effects are:

  • Secondary cancers
  • Infertility
  • Early menopause
  • Osteoporosis
  • Heart damage, including premature coronary artery disease
  • Neuropsychological effects, such as learning disabilities
  • Psychosocial issues like decreased self-esteem and stress
  • Pulmonary toxicity
  • Hormonal and growth disorders
  • Genitourinary problems
  • Gastrointestinal effects

In addition, cancer survivors may be faced with insurance or occupational discrimination because of their disease. The High-Five Clinic professionals can help with all these issues. By working together, hand in hand, we are able to meet the unique needs of our childhood cancer survivor patients and their families.

The High-Five Clinic is made possible by the generous support of the Scott Hamilton CARES (the Cancer Alliance for Research Education and Survivorship) Initiative, a program of the Cleveland Clinic Taussig Cancer Institute.

If you or your child is a survivor of childhood cancer, treated anywhere, and would like to make an appointment, call 216.444.5517 or 800.223.2273, ext. 45517.