Improving Quality of Life for Pediatric Cancer Patients

Each year, one to two children develop cancer for every 10,000 children in the United States, according to the National Cancer Institute.

Now, just imagine how the quality of life for three to five of them will change.

Children's Hospital of IllinoisLocally, that is how many are stricken with Hodgkin’s lymphoma every year. No longer must these children and their families travel to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis for treatment. The treatment is now available at Children’s Hospital of Illinois.

“It’s difficult being separated from your friends and family,” said Sarah Johnson, event coordinator at Jump Trading Simulation and Education Center. “Each patient is a person and each person deserves the best treatment (doctors) can provide them.”

Along with planning the fourth annual Pediatric Hematology/Oncology Symposium set for March 29, Johnson is a childhood survivor of pediatric cancer (Philadelphia Positive Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia). She understands the difficulty of traveling for treatment, which makes planning this symposium close to her heart.

“Getting treated close to home is so much better for your quality of life,” she added. “Small steps like this are a start.”

Monika Metzger, MD, will be the guest speaker on Hodgkin’s lymphoma at the symposium.

Expansion of learning opportunities

Jump Trading will be the new home for the symposium, allowing for more educational opportunities than in years past.

The target audience – pediatricians, family physicians and pediatric nurses – will be able to choose from one of three experiential learning methods about common pediatric hematology/oncology diseases, according to course director Mary Beth Ross, MD, assistant professor of pediatrics at the University of Illinois College of Medicine at Peoria.

Those in attendance can now choose whether to attend a lecture, take part in procedural activities or join a small group discussion. A St. Jude family panel will be available for everyone after the group learning.

“They can decide what kind of learning they need,” said Ross. “Jump has infrastructures that will allow us to expand what we can offer; that’s the wonderful thing about Jump.”

Approximately 40 people attended the first three years at the Spalding Pastoral Center, and event directors are hopeful the new location will attract a larger audience.

“We are very excited about how being at Jump will expand what the seminar can do over the next few years,” said Ross.

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