I have dual subspecialty training in the fields of pediatric endocrinology and oncology, with the focus of addressing treatment-related hormonal disorders in childhood cancer survivors.
The development of intensified oncology treatment regimens has greatly improved the survival of children with cancer. Currently, more than 80 percent of children with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) and upwards of 50 percent of pediatric patients treated for solid tumors will survive into adulthood. Similarly, five year cure rates for childhood Bone Marrow Transplantation (BMT) exceed 60 percent. It is estimated that in 2010, one in every 250 adults will be a survivor of childhood cancer. However, treatment-related disorders of endocrine systems such as growth hormone deficiency, thyroid disorders, infertility, obesity and poor bone health are common morbidities (diseases and conditions) facing this growing population of survivors.
Over the course of my unique dual training, I developed an interest in understanding childhood bone health and cancer treatment-related threats to childhood skeletal development. Cancer survivors are at risk for poor bone health, given their numerous endocrine morbidities. Skeletal development during childhood is characterized by specific changes in bone dimensions with coordinated actions of growth hormone and sex steroids in the setting of adequate biomechanical loading and nutrition.
Chemotherapy, irradiation, steroid exposure, poor muscle strength, vitamin D deficiency and poor nutrition all negatively impact the growing, vulnerable skeleton in this at-risk patient population. Understandably, a multidisciplinary team care approach is necessary to provide comprehensive care for this growing patient population with various treatment-related morbidities. I have been fortunate to be part of the wonderful Cancer Survivorship team at Children's Hospital in providing necessary care to our patients.
Children's Hospital houses one of the premier childhood cancer programs for research, training and comprehensive care in the world. The division of oncology treats many newly diagnosed patients from different regions each year, and also has a national referral base for complex cases. We have successfully integrated a state-of-the-art basic, translational and clinical research environment dedicated to eradicating the pain and suffering caused by cancer in children.
As a pediatric oncologist and endocrinologist at Children's Hospital, I have been blessed with outstanding individualized mentorship and role models in providing the best care for children with cancer. Treating children with cancer is my passion and addressing life-long treatment-related challenges in survivors of childhood cancer my ultimate goal. I am proud to be at Children's Hospital and part of the team.