Youth Cancer

Late Effects

There are some side effects from treatment that might not show up until later in life. These are called late effects.

  • Treatment such as chemotherapy and radiation therapy can damage cells in the body and cause problems later on in life.
  • Sometimes these late effects will show up many years later.
  • They do not mean that cancer has returned. Not everyone who has had treatment will have late effects.

What kind of things are we talking about?

The potential effects depend on many different factors:

  • what cancer was it?
  • where in the body was it?
  • how was it treated?
  • how old was the patient?
  • is the patient male or female?
  • what is their family history?
  • what was their overall health before being diagnosed?
  • what is their overall health now?

Late effects could present themselves in any part of the body, so it could be something relatively minor such as dental problems, or something more serious such as problems with liver or kidneys.

How do I know?

Regular check ups at the doctor will increase the chances of finding any problems. Discuss with your doctor or oncologist which effects (if any) your particular treatment has been associated with so you know what to look out for.