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Central Nervous System

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Other symptoms include the following:

  • Problems with memory.
  • Problems with paying attention.
  • Trouble with solving problems.
  • Trouble with organizing thoughts and tasks.
  • Ability to learn and use new information slows down.
  • Trouble learning to read, write, or do math.
  • Trouble coordinating movement between the eyes, hands, and other muscles.
  • Delays in normal development.
  • Social withdrawal.

Other conditions may cause the same symptoms. Talk to your child's doctor if your child has any of these problems.

Certain tests and procedures are used to detect (find) and diagnose health problems in the brain and spinal cord.

These and other tests and procedures may be used to detect or diagnose brain and spinal cord 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.
  • Neurological exam: A series of questions and tests to check the brain, spinal cord, and nerve function. The exam checks a person's mental status, coordination, and ability to walk normally, and how well the muscles, senses, and reflexes work. This may also be called a neuro exam or a neurologic exam. In some cases, a more detailed exam may be done by a neurologist or neurosurgeon.
  • Neuropsychological assessment: A series of tests to examine the patient's mental processes and behavior. Areas that are checked usually include:
    • Knowing who and where you are and what day it is.
    • Ability to learn and remember new information.
    • Intelligence.
    • Ability to solve problems.
    • Use of oral and written language.
    • Eye-hand coordination.
    • Ability to organize information and tasks.

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

Survivors of childhood cancer may have anxiety and depression related to their cancer.

Survivors of childhood cancer may have anxiety and depression related to physical changes, the way they look, or the fear of cancer coming back. This may cause problems with personal relationships, education, employment, and health. Survivors with these problems may be less likely to live independently as adults.

Yearly follow-up exams for childhood cancer survivors should include screening and treatment for possible psychological distress.

Some childhood cancer survivors have post-traumatic stress disorder.

Being diagnosed and treated for a life-threatening disease may be traumatic. This trauma may cause post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). PTSD is defined as having certain behaviors following a stressful event that involved death or the threat of death, serious injury, or a threat to oneself or others.

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