Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier
WebMD

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started
My Medicine
WebMD

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion
    WebMD

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community
    WebMD

    Community

    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Cancer Health Center

Font Size
A
A
A

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

Late effects are health problems that occur months or years after treatment has ended.

The cancer itself or the treatment of cancer may cause health problems for childhood cancer survivors months or years after successful treatment has ended. Cancer treatments may harm the body's organs, bones, or tissues and cause health problems later in life. These health problems are called late effects. Treatments that may cause late effects include surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, or stem cell transplant.

Recommended Related to Cancer

Overview

Approximately 1.6 million new cases of cancer are expected to be diagnosed in the United States in 2014.[1] Many patients diagnosed with cancer will eventually require support from a family caregiver. In fact, family caregivers form the foundation of the health care system in the United States, supporting advances in treatment such as multimodality treatment protocols given in outpatient and home settings.[2] Definition: Who Is the Caregiver? Also referred to as informal caregivers, family...

Read the Overview article > >

Doctors are studying the late effects caused by cancer treatment. They are working to improve treatments and stop or lessen late effects. While most late effects are not life-threatening, they may cause serious problems that affect health and quality of life.

Late effects in childhood cancer survivors are both physical and emotional.

Late effects in childhood cancer survivors may affect the following:

  • Organs, tissues, and body function.
  • Growth and development.
  • Mood, feelings, and actions.
  • Thinking, learning, and memory.
  • Social and psychological adjustment.
  • Risk of second cancers.

There are three important factors that affect the risk of late effects.

Many childhood cancer survivors will have late effects. The risk of late effects depends on factors related to the patient, tumor, and treatment. These include the following:

  • Tumor-related factors
    • Type of cancer.
    • Where the tumor is in the body.
    • How the tumor affects the way tissues and organs work.
  • Treatment-related factors
    • Type of surgery.
    • Chemotherapy type, dose, and schedule.
    • Radiation therapy type, part of the body treated, and dose.
    • Stem cell transplant.
    • Use of two or more types of treatment at the same time.
    • Blood product transfusion.
    • Chronic graft-versus-host disease.
  • Patient-related factors
    • The child's gender.
    • Certain changes in the child's genes.
    • Health problems the child had before being diagnosed with cancer.
    • The child's age at diagnosis and treatment.
    • Length of time since diagnosis and treatment.
    • Changes in hormone levels.
    • Family history of cancer or other conditions.
    • Health habits.

The chance of having late effects increases over time.

New treatments for childhood cancer have decreased the number of deaths from the primary cancer. However, the number of late effects in childhood cancer survivors increases with longer time since treatment and with older age. Survivors may not live as long as people who did not have cancer. The most common causes of death in childhood cancer survivors are:

  • The primary cancer comes back.
  • A second (different) primary cancer forms.
  • Heart and lung damage.
1 | 2
Next Article:

Today on WebMD

Colorectal cancer cells
New! I AM Not Cancer Facebook Group
Lung cancer xray
See it in pictures, plus read the facts.
 
sauteed cherry tomatoes
Fight cancer one plate at a time.
Ovarian cancer illustration
Real Cancer Perspectives
 
Jennifer Goodman Linn self-portrait
Blog
what is your cancer risk
HEALTH CHECK
 
colorectal cancer treatment advances
Video
breast cancer overview slideshow
SLIDESHOW
 
prostate cancer overview
SLIDESHOW
lung cancer overview slideshow
SLIDESHOW
 
ovarian cancer overview slideshow
SLIDESHOW
Actor Michael Douglas
Article