Radiation is sometimes used along with other treatments, such as before or after surgery, or along with chemo. As with chemo, radiation therapy can affect normal cells as well as cancer cells.Some organs and parts of the body are more likely to be affected by radiation than others.
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.Most treatment side effects appear during or just after treatment and go away a short time later.But some problems may not go away or may not show up until months or years after treatment. Because more children with cancer now survive into adulthood, their long-term health and these late effects have become a focus of care and research.Careful follow-up after cancer treatment helps doctors find and treat any late effects as early as possible.
The follow-up schedule depends on many things, including the type of cancer the child had, the treatments used, the risk of late effects from those treatments, and other factors such as the patient’s age and how long it has been since treatment was completed. The treatments used vary from child to child and from one type of cancer to another.Late effects will also vary, and depend mostly on the type of treatment used and the doses given.Other things that can affect a child’s risk include: Late effects are caused by the damage that cancer treatment does to healthy cells in the body.Most late effects are caused by chemotherapy or radiation. Chemotherapy (chemo) is the use of drugs to kill cancer cells.But chemo drugs can damage normal cells, too, which can cause short-term and long-term side effects.Chemotherapy damage to quickly dividing cells can cause side effects such as low blood cell counts, nausea, diarrhea, or hair loss during treatment.