Unfortunately, many survivors of childhood cancer, especially brain tumor survivors, can develop problems with intellectual ability, academic achievement, memory, and attention.
Factors responsible for these changes include tumor location and surgery, age (younger than 7 years) at diagnosis and treatment with radiation therapy and intrathecal chemotherapy (chemo that washes the brain).
Learning disabilities are common among childhood survivors.
Parents and teachers may observe a decrease in function over time, particularly in children who were treated with radiation to the brain at a young age.
Even though this is now mandated by federal law, survivors and their medical team may need to advocate to get all the services to which they are entitled.
Some survivors may sneak through our system and may not have issues until high school, sometimes leading to life altering changes like; “Is going to school possible?, What career can I do?, Will I ever be able to live alone?”
Many childhood cancer survivors’ families still can have bills from unreimbursed medical expenses, non-medical care items, and lowered or lost income. That debt may continue to grow after the survivor’s treatment has ended. Families may have had to use savings, credit cards, or take out a loan to pay bills, making the idea of college unthinkable.