General Information about Late Effects
Late effects are health problems that occur months or years after treatment has ended.
Late effects in childhood cancer survivors affect the body and mind.
There are three important factors that affect the risk of late effects.
The chance of having late effects increases over time.
Regular follow-up care is very important for survivors of childhood cancer.
Good health habits are also important for survivors of childhood cancer.
Cancer treatments and cancer can cause side effects. Side effects are problems that occur when treatment affects healthy tissues or organs. Speak up about any side effects you have, or changes you notice, so your health care team can treat or help you to reduce these side effects.
Learn about steps you can take to prevent or manage the side effects listed below:
During the past five decades, dramatic progress has been made in the development of curative therapy for pediatric malignancies. Long-term survival into adulthood is the expectation for more than 80% of children with access to contemporary therapies for pediatric malignancies.[1,2] The therapy responsible for this survival can also produce adverse long-term health-related outcomes, referred to as late effects, which manifest months to years after completion of cancer treatment.
Today, because of advances in treatment, more than 8 out of 10 children treated for cancer survive at least 5 years, and most of these children are cured. But the treatments that help these children survive their cancer can also cause health problems later on.
Like other cancer treatments, radiation may cause unpleasant side effects, such as overall fatigue, skin irritation, and other side effects depending on the part of the body being treated.
Every person reacts differently to treatment. Any side effects you might have depend on the type of cancer, location, dose of radiation, and your general health. Some people have no side effects at all, while others have quite a few. There’s no way to know who might have side effects. Before treatment, ask your cancer care team what you might expect.
Sweating is heavy perspiration that can happen at night or even when the room is cool. There may be enough to soak your clothes. Such sweating is common when a fever breaks. You may notice that you sweat a lot a short time after shaking chills.
Pain is one of the most common symptoms in cancer patients and often has a negative impact on patients’ functional status and quality of life. The goal of the following summary is to provide evidence-based, up-to-date, and practical information on the management of cancer pain.
Effective pain management can generally be accomplished by paying attention to the following steps:
A person with a poor appetite or no appetite may eat much less than normal or may not eat at all. A poor appetite can be caused by a changed sense of taste or smell, feeling full, tumor growth, dehydration (see the section called “Fluids (lack of) and dehydration”), or the side effects of treatment. A poor appetite can be made worse by many things, such as trouble swallowing, depression, pain, nausea, or vomiting.
Swelling (edema) is a build-up of water in the tissues. This can be caused by retaining salt and water due to medicines or heart, liver, or kidney failure. It can sometimes be due to poor nutrition, pelvic tumors, or a blockage in the veins or lymph system. Fluid can also build up in the belly. It can make the belly hard and swollen.
What happens if I get CIPN?
Your health care team needs to know if your chemo is causing signs of chemo-induced peripheral neuropathy (CIPN), so be sure to tell them about any changes you notice. During treatment, they will ask you about your symptoms and watch you to see if the CIPN is getting worse. Your team may need to delay your treatment, use smaller doses of the chemo drugs, or stop treatment with the drug that is causing the CIPN until your symptoms get better. These actions must be started right away to prevent long-term damage that won’t get better.