Late Effects Assessment Programme (LEAP)
Late Effects Assessment Programme (LEAP)
The Late Effects Assessment Programme (LEAP) exists to help you with any possible long term problems you might have after treatment.
What is LEAP?
LEAP (Late Effects Assessment Programme) is a programme to help you with any long term health problems you might have after your treatment. It is a continuation of the follow-up care you received in your cancer treatment centre.
The LEAP team includes your oncologist, a nurse specialist who has knowledge of the late effects of cancer treatment, and a clinical psychologist who is available if you have a need of psychological support at any stage.
What are the late effects and why should I come to clinic?
As you are now several years off treatment, the focus of your care is changing from surveillance for recurrence to thinking about any possible long term effects from the treatment you had. During treatment, your oncologist and nurse will have talked to you or your family about the specific long term effects that may occur from the disease or treatment you were having. At that time, because the aim was giving you the best chance of surviving, you probably did not think too much about these late effects. After treatment is completed checking for late effects becomes more important.
- you may have had an illness other than cancer but because of the treatment you had this information is still important for you to know
- it is important to remember that many young people do not develop any long term problems
- the LEAP team know the type of treatment you had and by going to clinic, they can check for any late effects that may develop and either prevent or at least manage any problems that do occur
You may know a lot about the illness you had or very little
You may have found information on the internet or in other media that talk about possible late effects following a childhood cancer. It is true that certain chemotherapy drugs, radiotherapy and / or surgery, as well as the disease you had, may cause late effects, but it depends on:
- the age you were during treatment
- type of cancer and treatment
- type and doses of the specific treatments (such as chemotherapy, radiation)
- the site of the treatment (radiation and surgery)
How long do I need to keep going to the LEAP clinic?
This is different for everyone and often depends on how old you are, what treatment you had and whether you have any late effects that are causing you health problems, learning problems or other concerns that affect your quality of life. Most young people are usually discharged between 18 and 21 years of age.
You will be given a copy of your 'health passport'. This is a brief summary of the treatment you received and lists all the chemotherapy, radiotherapy and surgery you had. It is a great resource to have for any health professional that you may see in the future. When you no longer go to clinic (or earlier if you are going away) you will be given an electronic copy that can be stored on a personal computer, iPad or memory stick so you can access it any time you need it. You can ask for an updated copy at any time.
Where can I get more information and support?
American Childhood Cancer Organisation www.acco.org
Children's Cancer and Leukaemia Group, UK www.cclg.org.uk
Good website for survivors aged 15 and over. Discusses issues including fertility, education, travel, lifestyle and how to keep healthy as well as simple fact sheets on potential late effects. See their publications including Aftercure: A guide for teenage and young adult survivors of childhood cancer.
Children's Oncology Group www.survivorshipguidelines
The LEAP team hopes this information will answer any questions you might have and provide useful information in the years to come. Ask the LEAP team about anything that isn't covered or doesn't make sense, either when you go to the LEAP clinic or by ringing or emailing the contacts listed below at any time.
LEAP Coordinator, Long Term Follow-up Programme
Starship Blood and Cancer Centre
Starship Children’s Health
Private Bag 92024
LEAP Coordinator, Late Effects
Capital and Coast District
Private Bag 7902
Riddiford Street, Newtown
CHRISTCHURCH AND SOUTH ISLAND
Children’s Oncology Late Effects
Dept. of Paediatrics
Private Bag 4710
All the fact sheets in the Childhood cancer section of this website have been written by health professionals who work in the field of paediatric oncology. They have been reviewed by the members of the National Child Cancer Network (NZ). Medical information is authorised by the National Child Cancer Network Clinical Leader.