Common late effects from cancer treatment include:
A small percentage of survivors treated with chest radiation or certain drugs (daunomycin or doxorubicin) have problems with heart disease. This is most likely for patients treated with higher doses, and those treated before their heart finished growing. You may need regular EKGs and echocardiograms, and we will refer you to a cardiologist if needed.
Radiation treatment and certain anticancer drugs can affect sexual development and reproduction. Some patients are at risk for delayed puberty, infertility (inability to have children), or early menopause. Physical exams and certain blood tests can help us tell if there are problems. We realize how important these issues are, and will discuss them at clinic visits. If there is a problem, we will arrange for you to see a specialist.
Head or neck radiation can cause the thyroid gland to stop working properly. This gland helps regulate growth, weight, and the balance of body chemicals. We will do blood tests to check for thyroid hormone levels.
Some chemotherapy drugs and radiation can increase the risk of a second (different) cancer. Some patients are genetically more at risk for second cancers. Tobacco, excessive sun exposure, and other chemicals and behaviors can also increase this risk. At the Seton Cancer Survivor Center, we will talk with you about ways to lower your risk and to detect common cancers at an early stage.
School and Work
Problems with school or jobs can result from some types of cancer treatment. The Seton Cancer Survivor Center can refer you for neuropsychological testing, and work with your school or employer to make sure that any special needs are met.