Long-term survivors of childhood cancer. The medical consequences of cure

Pediatr Clin North Am. 1997 Aug;44(4):1021-42. doi: 10.1016/s0031-3955(05)70543-5.


The late effects of cancer therapy are a significant problem and the risk can be predicted based on each individual's prior therapy. Although the use of effective therapy has led to the development of sequelae involving various organ systems, recognition of these complications has led to the design of new therapy targeted at minimizing these effects, especially in patients with good risk. Unfortunately, the risks of the late effects must be accepted in patients with cancers that are aggressive or in advanced stages to maximize the chance for cure. Continued education of cancer survivors regarding their risks of late effects is essential and gives them the ability to maintain healthy lifestyles, avoiding cancer-promoting behaviors such as smoking. It also gives survivors the opportunity to participate in screening programs to help in early recognition of the late consequences of therapy and to learn self-examination to detect second malignancies early. It is hoped that the use of early intervention will lead to an improved long-term outcome. Finally, continued surveillance of this population is essential to monitor the impact of the therapeutic modifications on late complications and potentially to detect the sequelae produced by newer treatment strategies. Because the number of childhood cancer survivors will continue to increase, it is imperative that the pediatricians and internists in the community who care for these survivors are aware of their risks for late effects so that they have access to and can benefit from early intervention.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Antineoplastic Agents / adverse effects
  • Antineoplastic Agents / therapeutic use
  • Central Nervous System Diseases / etiology
  • Child
  • Combined Modality Therapy
  • Heart Diseases / etiology
  • Humans
  • Neoplasms / mortality
  • Neoplasms / surgery
  • Neoplasms / therapy*
  • Postoperative Complications*
  • Radiotherapy / adverse effects
  • Survivors*


  • Antineoplastic Agents