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J Child Psychol Psychiatry. 1998 Jul;39(5):621-33.

Practitioner review: long-term consequences of childhood cancer.

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Cancer Research Campaign Child and Family Research Group, University of Exeter, Devon, UK.


Survival rates in childhood cancer now approach approximately 65%, depending on the specific cancer. Success has been achieved through the use of increasingly aggressive treatments (chemotherapy, radiotherapy, bone-marrow transplantation). These are now recognised to be associated with a range of physical late effects, including problems associated with growth and endocrine function, sensory function, fertility, liver, cardiac, and kidney damage. Recognition of these physical late effects raises the issue of related problems in psychological, educational, and behavioural functioning. There is considerable evidence to suggest that children who are younger on diagnosis are more at risk in terms of cognitive and behavioural late effects compared with those who are diagnosed later. Cancer remains a rare disease in children and consequently only those professionals attached to centres specialising in the care of children with cancer are likely to receive a significant number of referrals. It is important to establish a psychological support service as an integral part of long-term care in order to (a) establish more accurately the incidence of social and psychological late effects and (b) offer advice to the individual about the possible long-term effects of cancer treatment on future health, social, and employment prospects.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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