Survivors of childhood cancer need follow-up care and individualized medical surveillance for the rest of their lives for the the risk of complications that can occur many years after they complete treatment for their cancer.
Health problems that develop months or years after treatment has ended are known as late effects.
Long-term follow-up research studying a large group of survivors of childhood cancer treated between 1970 and 1986 has shown that cancer survivors remain at risk of complications and premature death as they age, with more than half of survivors having experienced a severe or disabling complication or even death by the time they reach age 50 years .
Currently, we do not know whether children treated in more recent periods will experience similar risks of late complications. Survivorship follow up and care will evolve over time as we learn more.
Late effects for each survivor is different and depends on the type and location of his or her cancer, the type of treatment he or she received, and patient-related factors, such as age at diagnosis.
Most importantly, it is critical for childhood cancer survivors to have regular medical follow-up examinations so any health problems that occur can be identified and treated as soon as possible.