Frailty in Older Survivors – The Who, the Why, the What


Presentation Description:
Treatment for childhood cancer has evolved over the past five decades such that over 80% of children diagnosed with cancer will survive at least five years.  Unfortunately, cure is not without consequences, leaving survivors at risk for the early development of chronic health problems typically associated with ageing.  Among young adults treated for malignancy in childhood, an ageing phenotype, frailty, has been identified in nearly 8% of survivors.  This phenotype is associated with new onset of chronic disease and with mortality in this population.  This presentation will describe the prevalence and predictors of frail health in childhood cancer survivors, referencing who is at greatest risk for this outcome and who is not at risk for this outcome.  It will also discuss the implications of frailty and describe potential interventions to prevent or remediate frail health in children during treatment for cancer and among cancer survivors.  

Kirsten K. Ness, PT, PhD, FAPTA
Present Full Member; Department of Epidemiology and Cancer Control
St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital

Dr.  Ness is a physical therapist and clinical epidemiologist and Member of the faculty at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.  She has a BA in Physical Therapy, an MA in Leadership and an MPH and PHD in Epidemiology.  She is a Catherine Worthingham Fellow of the American Physical Therapy Association and has been in Physical Therapy practice for over 30 years.  Her research focuses on the observation and remediation of functional loss among persons who were treated for cancer during childhood.  She has funding from the American Cancer Society, the Gabrielle’s Angel’s Foundation, the National Cancer Institute, and the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development.  She has over 160 peer reviewed publications and serves on the Steering Committees for the Childhood Cancer Survivor Study and the Children’s Oncology Group Survivorship and Outcomes Committee.  She is a member of the Survivorship Committee for the American Society for Clinical Oncology, an active member of the Oncology Section of the American Physical Therapy Association, and on the Editorial Boards of Pediatric Physical Therapy, Rehabilitation Oncology, and the Journal of Clinical Oncology.    

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