“It is increasingly clear to us that the life-long consequences of diseases like cancer are the principal sources of disease burden.”   
—James Marks, M.D.
Director, National Center of Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion  [1]

The Issue

There are approximately 300,000 survivors of childhood cancer in the United States today. [2] Before 1970, most people diagnosed with cancer under the age of 20 had little hope. But today (combining all cancer types) 78% of these patients reach the five-year survival point. [3] In addition, there are many others involved in survivorship, such as family members and friends of the patient, as well as caregivers.

Patients and their families have ongoing questions long after treatment ends. [4] A family may struggle for years with the financial and emotional impact of cancer, which can interfere with marriages, work histories, sibling welfare and overall family well being.

As many as two-thirds of childhood cancer survivors encounter a problem or “late effect” related to their original disease or treatment. [3] These survivorship issues range from cognitive and heart disorders, [5,6] growth disturbances, secondary cancers and fertility issues to trouble with school and self-esteem. [4] Therefore, it is critical that survivors continue receiving long-term follow-up care as they grow into adulthood. Unfortunately, many survivors do not receive the care they need. Among the many reasons for this are: fragmentation of health care and lack of professional training regarding follow-up, as well as survivors lack of awareness about long-term health risks, lack of insurance coverage, concerns about job or insurance discrimination, or fear of a recurrence. An early history of cancer creates a lifelong need for healthy lifestyle habits and specialized follow-up care. [4]

The Series

A LION IN THE HOUSE helps viewers understand the challenges of cancer’s immediate burdens, as well as its aftermath. The unfolding drama shows how families move beyond fighting the disease, and how lives must be restarted, redefined and reclaimed. Issues range broadly from a child’s need to get back on track after months of missed school to a mother’s need to create meaning out of her child’s ordeal and a family’s need to reconnect with each other. A LION IN THE HOUSE goes inside the drama of individual and family survival and powerfully portrays the wisdom of children who have faced death. The series also highlights the critical needs that young survivors and families have for ongoing support from health professionals, educators, youth development specialists and other community- and faith-based organizations.

Additional Resources for Survivorship

CDC Survivor Alert Campaign
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is supporting outreach for A LION IN THE HOUSE with an initiative to raise awareness about the challenges facing young adult survivors of cancer. Immediately following the broadcast of A LION IN THE HOUSE, special events for survivors, their friends and families will be hosted in up to 30 cities across the country. Visit the project website at www.survivoralert.org.
For more information, contact Amy Steinkuhl, amy@kcp.uky.edu or 859-219-0772 x265.

The Campaign

The community engagement campaign for A LION IN THE HOUSE seeks to enhance the resources and support that promote healthy survivorship among children and families. Spearheaded by ITVS, the campaign encourages local organizations and public television stations to work in partnership to develop activities that support goals in the following key areas:

  • Training and professional development opportunities for medical, community and school personnel
  • Public education and awareness
  • Dissemination of survivor alerts and literature about childhood cancer warning signs
  • Fundraising and advocacy for programs that promote survivorship, especially among underserved populations
  • Training to empower parents and young survivors as spokespersons and advocates

Resources provided by ITVS to support local efforts include: national partners, regional organizers, a website, print materials (fact sheet, discussion and planning guides), press releases, flyers and a video module focused on survivorship content from A LION IN THE HOUSE. These resources are available for local workshops, screenings, forums and other events.

Download Facts and Resources for Pediatric Cancer Survivorship (Download PDF)

1. Amy Marcus: “Beyond Treatment,” Wall Street Journal, March 24, 2004
2. The Children's Cause for Cancer Advocacy
3. Childhood Cancer Survivorship: Improving Care and Quality of Life, Institute of Medicine, 2003
4. Beverly Ryan: “Implications for Clinical Populations: Pediatric Oncology,” NJ survivorship report
5. Philip M Monteleone, M.D.: Late Effects of Childhood Cancer and Treatment
6. National Cancer Institute: Late Effects of Childhood Cancer Therapies

About the Series

About the Campaign

Health Disparities


End of Life

From the Filmmakers

National Partners

Campaign Events



Series website

mylion.org for teens

itvs community connections project

Independent Lens



Lance Armstrong Foundation

CDC Survivor Alert Campaign
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