Vous êtes sur la page 1sur 4

Thibault 1

Erin Thibault
07 November 2014
Long Term Effects of Pediatric Cancer
In June of 2012, I had the pleasure of meeting a two year old named Christopher who
showed me the true meaning of being a fighter. Christopher was diagnosed with Neuroblastoma,
a form a pediatric cancer, when he was just eight months old. At the time I met him and his
family, he had just been diagnosed with a second tumor a week earlier after being in remission
for almost a year. Through teary eyes his mother explained to me that the second tumor, along
with the hearing aids he wore, and a slew of other cognitive issues were late effects from the
different treatments he received while being treated for the cancer. Unfortunately, the cancer had
spread too rapidly and Christopher lost his second battle on January 25, 2013.
The survival rate today for children diagnosed with pediatric cancer is around eighty
percent, the highest it has ever been (PBS News Hour). It is amazing to see how far pediatric
cancer treatments have come, but doctor Robert Goldsby, a pediatric oncologist says, the good
news is more people are surviving cancer, the bad news is those that survive more than half have
a long-term issue (PBS News Hour). Cancer.gov describes long-term, or late effects, as health
issues that can cause problems within the bodys organ and tissue systems after cancer treatment
has ended. Children are our future, so this issue effects each and every one of us. It is
unbelievable that even after beating cancer, these children have to battle with the late effects of
treatments for the rest of their lives.

Thibault 2

Offinger and Robinson state that although some long term effects are issues that would
not have occurred without the original cancer and the treatments that accompanied it, some
complications may be just exaggerations of diseases or health problems the individual was
already at risk for. Children with cancer are treated with the same therapies as adults diagnosed
with cancer, they are just given in lower doses. This worries me due to the fact that childhood
cancers behave differently, and they usually spread more rapidly (Boklan 1906). The main
question this raises for me is, would the late effects would be less significant if children were
treated with therapies specifically designed for pediatric patients? Secondary tumors are a huge,
life changing effect, but there are a plethora of other serious issues that can have negative effects
on the quality of life of childhood cancer survivors. These complications include issues with the
cardiovascular, central nervous, digestion, endocrine, and immune systems of the body.
CNN.com states that the most common long term effect of pediatric cancer treatment is hearing
loss that may occur immediately, or progress over time. This raises many questions about why
this is the most common late effect. Is there a certain chemical that makes this occur? Although
the physical effects may be the ones that first come to mind, the psychological ones can be just
as devastating. Psychological effects describe the feelings, thoughts, behaviors, and
relationships. Like medical late effects, psychological late effects can occur a year or two after
treatment, but they may not even begin to emerge until many years after treatment ends
(Schwartz 295). Being treated for cancer at a young age, can significantly affect the childs
social life drastically. The emotional distress they suffered can cause PTSD and make it hard to
have friends because thinking or talking about the experience can cause anxiety. (Schwartz 297).
This statement causes me to wonder if children are given counseling throughout the treatment
process, and if the age of the child at diagnosis is of significance.

Thibault 3

Thibault 4

Works Cited
Boklan, J. "Little Patients, Losing Patience: Pediatric Cancer Drug Development." Molecular Cancer
Therapeutics 5.8 (2006): 1905-908. Print. 12 Sept. 2014.
National Insititues of Health. "Late Effects of Treatment for Childhood Cancer (PDQ)." National Cancer
Institute. N.p., n.d. Web. 21 Oct. 2014.
Oeffinger, Kevin C, and Leslie L. Robison. "Childhood Cancer Survivors, Late Effects, and a New Model for
Understanding Survivorship." Jama: Journal of the American Medical Association. 297.24 (2007).
PBS News Hour. "Pediatric Cancer Survivors Face Additional Health Challenges." YouTube. YouTube, 30
June 2014. Web. 01 Nov. 2014.
Schwartz, Cindy L. Survivors of Childhood and Adolescent Cancer: A Multidisciplinary Approach. Berlin:
Springer, 2005. Internet resource.