Clinic opens for survivors of childhood cancer

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KANSAS CITY, Kan. -- Eight out of 10 children and teens who have cancer will beat the disease. But the treatments that help them survive put them at high risk for health problems as adults. Kansas City now has one of a half-dozen clinics in the country specifically for those adult survivors.

Two years ago, FOX 4 News met Ashley Dado at Children's Mercy Hospital where she'd been treated for cancer years earlier. Dado survived stage four brain cancer that spread to her spine.

Children's Mercy has a clinic that follows kids who've had cancer. But what happens to those kids when they become adults? Now 21, Dado is one of the first patients at the new cancer survivorship clinic at the University of Kansas Physicians' Medical Office Building.

"They'll have every doctor I'll ever need, so kinda like Children's Mercy," said Dado.

The Midwest Cancer Alliance started the clinic for adult survivors to be checked and treated for any so-called late effects.

"We call them late effects because they can develop for years after the time of diagnosis and treatment," said Dr. Becky Lowry, the clinic's medical director.

For example, chemotherapy can result in heart trouble years later. Radiation treatments can result in lung scarring or even second cancers.

"Thinking and cognition and memory are common concerns, emotional conditions and even fertility," said Dr. Lowry.

The new clinic will work with Children's Mercy to transition young adults. But the clinic is open to any adult who had cancer as a child. It can be their primary medical home or a resource for their primary care doctor.

"I'm blessed that these doctors are here to help take care of us and know of our issues," said Dado.

She will graduate from college next year and hopes to become a health educator for other childhood cancer survivors.

For more information on the clinic, call the Midwest Cancer Alliance at 877-253-4477.