Depending on your child’s age when they were diagnosed and the type of cancer and treatments they had, some long-term issues need to be monitored throughout their life:

  • Heart and lung problems – some chemotherapy and radiation therapy can cause heart or lung problems that will need to be regularly monitored.
  • Physical development – some chemotherapy and radiation therapy may have effects on the development of bone, teeth or the digestive system, or may impact upon hearing and vision.
  • Learning problems – some cancer treatments can affect long-term learning capabilities. Some children may need special attention to help them keep up with their peers in school.
  • Social issues – your child’s social skills may not be as developed as other children their age, especially if they had lots of time off school.
  • Sexual development and fertility issues – some treatments, such as chemotherapy, radiation therapy and surgery, can affect a child’s sexual organs. This may result in delays or differences in sexual development, or infertility.
  • Second cancers - some treatments for cancer can actually increase the chances of developing a different type of cancer later in life. These are called second cancers. It is essential that cancer survivors continue to monitor their health with regular visits and follow-up tests throughout their life.

These potential problems may have been discussed with you when your child’s doctor was explaining treatment options (see How is cancer treated?). The benefit of treatment usually outweighs these risks. However, some of these problems may need to be addressed for a long time, perhaps for the rest of your child’s life.

It is important to keep a record of the treatments your child went through. They will need this information throughout their life, so doctors know their complete medical history when assessing them for health conditions now and in adulthood.

This information is reproduced with permission of Cancer Australia and you can download the full Cancer Australia’s Neuroblastoma Fact Sheet here.

More information