Today, because of advances in treatment, more than 80% of children treated for cancer survive at least 5 years..
But the treatments that help these children survive their cancer can also cause health problems later on.
Normal brain cells grow quickly in the first few years of life, making them very sensitive to radiation.
Doctors try to avoid using radiation therapy to the head or to postpone it in children younger than 3 years old to limit damage that might affect brain development.
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.
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.Doctors do their best to limit the effects of surgery by striking a balance between removing all of the cancer and taking out as little healthy body tissue as possible.Younger children, whose bodies are still actively growing, may be more affected by some operations than older children who are already at or near their full body size.Children with brain tumors or with acute lymphocytic (lymphoblastic) leukemia (ALL) are most likely to have late effects in the brain, but children with other cancers may be affected as well.Treatments that can affect the brain include surgery, radiation therapy, and chemotherapy.