Possible longterm side effects

Most children and teens with high-risk or relapsed leukemia receive 1,800 or 2,400 cGy to the whole brain and sometimes radiation to the spinal cord. Boys or teens with a testicular relapse get radiation to the testicles, and some children get total body radiation prior to bone marrow transplant. Specific disabilities depend on the age of the child, the dose of radiation, and the location of the radiation.

Although short-term effects appear and subside, long-term side effects may not become apparent for months or years after treatment ends. The effects of radiation on cognitive functioning, bone growth, soft tissue growth, teeth and sinuses, puberty, and fertility, range from no late effects to severe, life-long impacts. Second tumors in the radiation field are also a possible long-term side effect. Detailed information about possible late effects are described in Childhood Cancer Survivors: A Practical Guide to Your Future by Nancy Keene, Wendy Hobbie, and Kathy Ruccione.

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