News Flash! June 21, 2019: "Hodgkin’s International to research and develop Public Service Announcement (PSA) regarding Late Effects”
With support from the National Coalition for Cancer Survivorship (NCCS), Hodgkin’s International is working on a project to develop a public service announcement for long-term Hodgkin’s survivors. The growing body of evidence regarding significant, sometimes life-threatening consequences of earlier treatment has motivated us to take a strong stance on educating our fellow survivors. It is clear that there are far too many survivors who have no idea that they are at risk.
Clinical research now points to several areas of concern for those who were treated with earlier forms of radiation and chemotherapy. The statistics are alarming. For example, authors Bhakta, et. al. reported on findings from the St. Jude Long-Term Follow-Up Study in the September, 2016 issue of LANCET that:
“..survivors aged fifty years will experience more than two times the number of chronic cardiovascular health conditions and nearly five times the number of more severe (grade 3-5) cardiovascular conditons compared with the community controls and, on average, have one severe, life-threatening or fatal cardiovascular condition”.
In addition to cardiac and pulomnary complications, we now know that Hodgkin’s survivors are at risk for several secondary cancers, including Leukemia, non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, thyroid cancer, lung cancer, esophageal cancer, skin cancer, and more. Women who have had radiation to the chest, particularly at a younger age, are at a very high risk for breast cancer. The National Cancer Institute (NCI) posted an article in January 18, 2018 (Withrow, et. al.) stating that:
“..ER-negative cancers were nearly six times more common in Hodgkin Lymphoma survivors than they were among the general population, compared to ER-positive cancers, which were three times more common”.
It is not unusual for survivors to be in good health and “disease free” for years, even decades after treatment. They may no longer be followed by an oncologist, or, in some cases, by anyone at all. Unfortunately, many General Practioners (GP’s) or Personal Care Physicians (PCP’s) are not savvy about late effects. They, along with far too many oncologists, may not recognize symptoms of late effects when they occur, or they may attribute them to other conditions.
The combination of serious late effects and the lack of awareness on the part of both survivors and caregivers demands that we, as an organization, DO something. Our PSA message will be clear, concise, and uncompromising. It is our hope that the process of creating a Public Service Announcement will, in and of itself, go a long way in bringing much-needed attention to what, for many of us, amounts to a “health crisis”.
We are at the beginning stages of this project. We welcome your thoughts, ideas, and input. It is our intention to make the PSA “global” in nature, so it is important that we hear from survivors outside the US. We need your support! This can be in the form of writing about a personal experience, sharing research/information/data, expertise or connections in the area of public advertising, production, etc. We recognize that this is a huge undertaking, but we are committed to giving it our all.
For the complete articles mentioned above, see our “Resources” page.
You can write us at the email address below or contact us via our Facebook page.