After the Cancer Experience: Programs and Treatments

The ACE Program at Children's Medical Center and UT Southwestern Medical Center was established in 1989 and is the first and largest childhood cancer survivors program in North Texas. The ACE Program evaluates and monitors childhood cancer survivors from ages 4 to 62 years old. Objectives of the ACE program include patient and physician education, patient care, and clinical research in the late effects of cancer survivors. The ACE Program is a member of the Childhood Cancer Survivors Study (CCSS), the leading consortium in late effects research. Numerous studies from the CCSS have determined the frequency of late effects and identified risk factors for late effects in this childhood cancer survivors.

Education

Children – especially younger children – often do not fully understand their cancer history, so we educate them about their cancer. They learn about the type of malignancy they had, how it developed and how it was treated. More importantly, they become aware of potential long-term side effects associated with cancer treatment, how to communicate these potential issues with physicians in the future, and how to reduce their risks of developing long-term side effects.  

Each ACE Program participant receives a Cancer Treatment Summary that includes a description of their cancer diagnosis, detailed treatment information, complications encountered during treatment or any late effects, as well as a personalized plan for long-term follow-up care. 

Program Facts

  • Database includes patients ranging in age from 4 to 62 years of age.
  • ACE nurse practitioners are active in the Children's Oncology Group (COG) Nursing Discipline Late Effects Subcommittee and in ongoing development of national late-effect monitoring protocols.
  • The team is active in the state and local American Cancer Society's Childhood Cancer Conference.
  • ACE team members have been invited speakers at national and international conferences on various late-effect topics. Continuing education is offered to internal medicine residents, Children's Medical Center staff and professionals entering the long-term follow-up subspecialty. The program also serves as a community resource.
  • Monitoring for late effects of cancer
  • Routine screening for second malignancies
  • Education about risk factors and health maintenance
  • Referrals facilitated to appropriate subspecialists when indicated
  • Participation in Childhood Cancer Survivor Study and other survival research

Program Highlights

  • More than 700 survivors are actively enrolled in the ACE Program.  
  • The ACE Young Adult Program at UT Southwestern is one of the few transitional programs for adult survivors of childhood cancer.  
  • 2014 is the 25th anniversary of the ACE Program and the 20th anniversary of the ACE Young Adult Program.
  • The ACE Program provides simplifed referrals to appropriate subspecialties and offers access to social services, Child life specialists and other services. 
  • The ACE Program at Children's is the oldest and largest comprehensive cancer survivor program in Texas.
  • The ACE database includes more than 1,500 cancer survivors from ages 4 to 62 years.
  • The expertise of Children's ACE team members has been requested locally, nationally and internationally by others attempting to model our program and services.
  • The ACE Program enables seamless transition of pediatric cancer survivors to adult services via the ACE Young Adult Program at UT Southwestern.
  • The Children's ACE Program is the only one in North Texas participating in the NCI-funded Childhood Cancer Survivor Study.
  • The program offers ACE Navigator, a unique computerized educational tool for adolescents, young adults and families.
  • ACE team members conduct and participate in research studies about the unique problems and needs of cancer survivors.