Objective This study will examine the development of survivorship studies particularly those on epidemiological issues in paediatric cancers in the US from c. 1970 to the present. It will explore the critical points in which studies were determined to be of importance that is when the development of more curative therapy allowed children to survive their illness to first become ‘survivors’. Studies of childhood cancer survivorship have followed a pattern alongside clinical treatment: first with the incorporation of combination chemotherapy, sometimes blood and marrow transplant or ‘rescue’ and then with the recognition of late and well as short term side effects.
Methods The author will analyse the published literature, archival material of the National Cancer Institute, the Children's Oncology Group, and the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. To obtain a local as well as national focus the author will examine the data and analysis from a survey of families whose children were treated for cancer at the Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh from 1980 to 2010.
Results Using specific historical ‘periods’ in paediatric cancer treatment development the author so far has concluded that issues of survivorship continue to emerge as an important response to treatment, incorporating the expertise of epidemiologists, clinicians and psycho social support staff in the challenge of curing the ‘whole child’ in the twenty-first century.