From setting life goals and dealing with the long-term health effects of treatment, to telling a new love interest about their experience with cancer, survivors of childhood cancer may struggle with many issues.
From October 16 – 18, 2015, POGO and Camp Oochigeas will present Life After Childhood Cancer, the third POGO survivor conference to address key issues survivors themselves have identified as being important to their health and well-being.
Matthew is a proud high school graduate, a college grad and a survivor. He has ongoing physical and cognitive challenges brought on by his disease and its treatment. He has difficulty with fine motor coordination, and a hard time listening and translating that information on paper. But he is driven to succeed and perseveres. Instead of taking notes by hand, he uses a laptop. If he doesn’t understand something, Matthew has no problem asking for help or researching until he figures it out. Matthew will attend the survivor conference for the first time this year.
“I’m looking forward to the survivor conference,” says Matthew. “I’m curious to hear from other survivors about their experiences and to share mine.”
In past years survivors of all ages have attended the conference and say it has helped them to better answer questions from others who have not experienced cancer.
“The conference aims to address educational and information needs in the context of social and recreational interaction – a combination we have found addresses survivors’ needs in a unique fashion, directly applicable to their daily life,” says Dr. Mark Greenberg, Senior Adviser, Policy & Clinical Affairs at POGO.
Practical approaches to their issues, like fertility and the disease’s impact on their families, are presented by leading experts, and also by other survivors. Survivors leave the conference knowing what questions to ask of their family doctor, who may never see another survivor in their practice.
“I’m happy that some sessions are run by other cancer survivors because it’s good to know I’m not the only one going through this,” says a past conference participant.
As for Matthew, his list of questions is building.
“I’m very interested to see what I can learn that will help me in the future,” he says.
While no one wants to think about cancer after they have beaten it, the thought of attending Life After Childhood Cancer would be one that is not wasted.