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National Cancer Institute

Discussant

Craig Lustig, M.P.A.
Executive Director, Children's Cause for Cancer Advocacy
Silver Spring, MD

Mr. Lustig is a 12-year survivor of pediatric brain cancer (diagnosed at age 27).

  • Cancer is a dynamic experience, with needs and issues changing over time; research on cancer survivors should incorporate this experience. In the short term, major health issues for Mr. Lustig included pain and fatigue associated with treatment, gastrointestinal symptoms, and endocrine issues (tumor affected pineal and pituitary gland). Psychosocial issues, including isolation, a feeling of a loss of control (especially troublesome for a young man with a rare disease), and job and financial issues also occurred during this time.
  • For Mr. Lustig, long-term affects of cancer included a change in attitude toward life and a search for a more meaningful life. This led him to volunteer with cancer research and advocacy organizations and prompted him to go back to school to change careers and ultimately work as the director of the Children's Cause for Cancer Advocacy. The decision to return to school was impacted, however, by psychomotor slowing experienced by Mr. Lustig, likely as a result of his cancer but also difficult to distinguish from age-related physical changes.