Dr. Merchant on the Importance of Continued Care in Pediatric Craniopharyngioma

March 29, 2021
Thomas E. Merchant, DO, PhD

Thomas E. Merchant, DO, PhD, discusses the importance of continued care in pediatric patients with craniopharyngioma.

Thomas E. Merchant, DO, PhD, a faculty member and chair of the Radiation Oncology Department, Baddia J. Rashid Endowed Chair in Radiation Oncology, and Chairman of Radiation Oncology Discipline in the Children's Oncology Group at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, discusses the importance of continued care in pediatric patients with craniopharyngioma.

Patients who are diagnosed with craniopharyngioma at a young age are faced with significant challenges regarding their continuation of care as they transition to adulthood, says Merchant. For example, most pediatric patients with craniopharyngioma have panhypopituitarism, which can lead to growth, thyroid, adrenal, and sex hormone deficiencies, Merchant explains. Many of these patients also develop diabetes insipidus, Merchant adds.

As a result, these patients have to remain on hormone replacements after they transition to adult care, says Merchant. Moreover, adherence to medications when patients are in college or living alone or whether they no longer have access to insurance can present with new challenges that could have significant consequences on their health, Merchant explains. As such, ensuring that patients are monitored during the transition to adult care is critical, Merchant concludes.