April 10, 1998

Conference to bring pediatric cancer survivors together

Conference to bring pediatric cancer survivors together

Causes of childhood cancer will be the focus of the keynote presentation at the second annual Pediatric Cancer Survivors Conference on Saturday, April 18, at the Cumberland Science Museum.

Children surviving a diagnosis of cancer, their parents and siblings are invited to attend the morning-long conference, sponsored by Vanderbilt Children's Hospital and the Vanderbilt Cancer Center.

"One of the most common questions parents of children with cancer have is 'Why did this happen to my child?'," said Dr. James A. Whitlock, Craig-Weaver professor of Pediatrics and director of the division of Pediatric Hematology-Oncology at Children's Hospital.

"Until recently, very little information was available to account for this in most patients. However, recent genetic and other scientific research has provided a number of insights into this issue. Parents will be relieved to learn that most childhood cancers are not yet preventable."

The event is designed to educate families about important issues and resources related to childhood cancer, provide an avenue for families to get to know and learn from each other, and offer an opportunity for fun and celebration of survivorship.

Child life specialists from Children's Hospital will be on hand to provide special activities for children while parents participate in a number of informative sessions about common concerns.

Keynote speaker Julie A. Ross, Ph.D., assistant professor of Pediatric Epidemiology and Clinical Research at the University of Minnesota Cancer Center, will discuss causes of cancer, and panels of survivors and their families will share their experiences.

The conference will be 9 a.m.-noon and will include lunch. It is free and open to anyone who has had a diagnosis of cancer before age 21, but reservations are encouraged.

To learn more or to register, call the Children's Hospital outreach coordinator at 322-4932.