Secondary cancers

Children who receive cranial radiation have an increased risk of malignancy (cancer) years after treatment. Thyroid tumors, salivary tumors, and brain tumors have been reported. Those at highest risk had 2,400 cGy or more of cranial radiation or total body irradiation when younger than 5 years old. Currently, it is believed that less than 2 percent of survivors who received these treatments will develop second tumors.

My 18-year-old daughter had AML M5 over twelve years ago and does have some late effects. She was a very early bone marrow transplant recipient (1987) so she had total body irradiation seven times. As a result of that she has ongoing endocrine problems and cataracts. She also has a reduced ejection fraction of the heart as a result of the anthracyclines. That said, you'd never pick her out of a crowd. She just graduated from high school with a perfect 4.0 GPA, is applying to university and wants to specialize in biology with the intent to go into medicine (pediatric oncology) or molecular genetics with a focus on cancer genetics. There is hope.


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