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Late Effects of Treatment for Childhood Cancer (PDQ®): Treatment - Patient Information [NCI] - Endocrine System

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Certain tests and procedures are used to detect (find) and diagnose health problems in the neuroendocrine system.

These and other tests and procedures may be used to detect or diagnose thyroid late effects:

  • Physical exam and history: An exam of the body to check general signs of health, including checking for signs of disease, such as lumps or anything else that seems unusual. A history of the patient's health habits and past illnesses and treatments will also be taken.
  • Blood chemistry study: A procedure in which a blood sample is checked to measure the amounts of certain substances, such as glucose, released into the blood by organs and tissues in the body. An unusual (higher or lower than normal) amount of a substance can be a sign of disease in the organ or tissue that makes it.
  • Blood hormone studies: A procedure in which a blood sample is checked to measure the amounts of certain hormones released into the blood by organs and tissues in the body. An unusual (higher or lower than normal) amount of a substance can be a sign of disease in the organ or tissue that makes it. The blood may be checked for abnormal levels of follicle-stimulating hormone, luteinizing hormone, estradiol, testosterone, or free thyroxine (T4).
  • Lipid profile studies: A procedure in which a blood sample is checked to measure the amounts of triglycerides, cholesterol, and low- and high-density lipoprotein cholesterol in the blood.

Talk to your child's doctor about whether your child needs to have tests and procedures to check for signs of neuroendocrine late effects. If tests are needed, find out how often they should be done.

Testicles and ovary

See the Reproductive System section of this summary for information about late effects in the testicles and ovaries.

Metabolic syndrome

Metabolic syndrome is more likely to occur after treatment for certain childhood cancers.

Metabolic syndrome is a group of medical conditions that includes having too much fat around the abdomen and two of the following:

  • High blood pressure.
  • High levels of triglycerides and low levels of high-density lipoprotein cholesterol in the blood.
  • High levels of glucose (sugar) in the blood.

Treatment for these and other childhood cancers may cause metabolic syndrome to occur later in life:

  • Acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL).
  • Cancers treated with a stem cell transplant.

Radiation therapy to the brain and total-body irradiation (TBI) as part of a stem cell transplant increase the risk of metabolic syndrome.

Metabolic syndrome may cause the survivor to have a shorter adult height.

Childhood cancer survivors who received radiation to the brain or had a stem cell transplant are at risk for metabolic syndrome. Metabolic syndrome may cause low levels of growth hormone, which helps promote growth and control metabolism. This may cause the survivor to be shorter than normal.

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WebMD Public Information from the National Cancer Institute

Last Updated: February 25, 2014
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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