Helping Kids Survive & Thrive after Cancer

As treatment options improve for childhood cancer, more and more young people are surviving their diagnosis. In fact, the survival rate for pediatric oncology patients has improved by more than 30% over the last decade. And while parents are universally grateful that their children have lived, in many cases, they report that survival has come at a high price. In order to help children and teenagers thrive after surviving cancer, it’s important to understand the factors that impact their physical and mental health now and in the future.

The Improving Care and Outcomes across the Childhood Cancer Trajectory (IMPACCT) initiative aims to develop a new, mobile health (mHealth) platform for the collection of patient feedback on their current physical and mental health experience. Despite best efforts of clinicians, collecting this critical information in an accurate and timely manner has been hampered by factors such as appointment scheduling, geography and language. Those barriers would be eliminated with the development of an easy-to-use app for patients and families to track and report their physical and mental health condition throughout therapy and ideally, for their lifetime.

With a new mHealth platform, our team would then be able to:

  • Better support children currently enrolled in clinical trials to complete the quality of life and neurocognitive assessment components of their particular study
  • Systematically integrate and review patient reported measures of physical and mental wellbeing for all children undergoing therapy
  • Develop innovative pre-emptive treatment and interventions to reduce the burden of side-effects from chemotherapy and radiation
  • Deliver evidence-based interventions in real-time (such as cognitive behavioural therapy) to reduce physical and mental health difficulties and improve the patient experience

With a strong culture of collaborative clinical research firmly established within the pediatric cancer program the Alberta Children’s Hospital, the team is well positioned to draw on the strengths of multiple disciplines in the development and implementation of this innovative platform. As this would be the first such app of it’s kind, this project could potentially to revolutionize the care of childhood cancer patients and survivors not only here, but worldwide.

With your support, psychosocial oncology experts at the Alberta Children’s Hospital will systematically assess real-time information from childhood cancer patients in the active treatment phase – and ideally for the rest of their lives – and use the information to develop innovative, evidence-based interventions to support their physical and mental wellbeing.

“With this project, we will be leaders around the world to have real-time data on the lived experience of children in cancer treatment or those who have survived it. This information will help us pinpoint how best to support them all along the way.”
Dr. Fiona Schulte, Psychologist and Researcher, Alberta Children’s Hospital

The Alberta Children’s Hospital Foundation is proud to represent the pediatric interests in the OWN.Cancer campaign – a collaboration between the Alberta Cancer Foundation, University of Calgary and Alberta Health Services.