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

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Studies of the causes of late effects have led to changes in treatment. This has improved the quality of life for cancer survivors and helps prevent illness and death from late effects.

Regular follow-up care is very important for survivors of childhood cancer.

Regular follow-up by health professionals who are experts in finding and treating late effects is important for the long-term health of childhood cancer survivors. Follow-up care will be different for each person who has been treated for cancer. The type of care will depend on the type of cancer, the type of treatment, genetic factors, and the person's general health and health habits.

It is important that childhood cancer survivors have an exam at least once a year. The exams should be done by a health professional who is familiar with the survivor's risk for late effects and can recognize the early signs of late effects. Blood and imaging tests may also be done.

Long-term follow-up may improve the health and quality of life for cancer survivors and also helps doctors study the late effects of cancer treatments so that safer therapies for newly diagnosed children may be developed.

Good health habits are also important for survivors of childhood cancer.

The quality of life enjoyed by cancer survivors may be improved by behaviors that promote health and well-being. These include a healthy diet, exercise, and regular medical and dental checkups. These self-care behaviors are especially important for cancer survivors because of their risk of treatment-related health problems. Healthy behaviors may make late effects less severe and lower the risk of other diseases.

Avoiding behaviors that are damaging to health is also important. Smoking, excess alcohol use, illegal drug use, sun exposure, or not being physically active may worsen treatment-related organ damage and possibly increase the risk of second cancers.

This information is produced and provided by the National Cancer Institute (NCI). The information in this topic may have changed since it was written. For the most current information, contact the National Cancer Institute via the Internet web site at http:// cancer .gov or call 1-800-4-CANCER.

WebMD Public Information from the National Cancer Institute

Last Updated: September 04, 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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