Leading Article

Pediatric Drugs

, Volume 8, Issue 2, pp 71-84

First online:

Surviving Childhood Cancer

The Impact on Life
  • Robert E. GoldsbyAffiliated withDivision of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology, University of California Email author 
  • , Denah R. TaggartAffiliated withDivision of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology, University of California
  • , Arthur R. AblinAffiliated withDivision of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology, University of California

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With modern therapies, most children diagnosed with cancer are expected to reach adulthood. Therefore, there are large and ever-increasing numbers of children and young adults in our population who are survivors of childhood cancer. Many of the therapies responsible for improved cancer survival rates can also damage normal cells and tissues. As more children survive cancer, the physical and emotional costs of enduring cancer therapy become increasingly important. Although most childhood cancer survivors are now expected to survive, they remain at risk for relapse, second malignant neoplasms, organ dysfunction, and a negative psychologic impact. Individual risk is quite variable and is dependent on multiple factors including the type and site of cancer, the therapy utilized, and the individual’s constitution. The risks are likely to change as we learn more about the specific long-term effects of cancer therapy, develop more refined and targeted therapies, and develop and apply more effective preventative strategies or therapeutic interventions. Guidelines for long-term follow-up have been established and are available to help facilitate appropriate monitoring of and care for potential late effects.