Late Effects of Chemotherapy Treatments in Childhood

Updated at: Jun 17, 2016
Late Effects of Chemotherapy Treatments in Childhood

Late Effects of Chemotherapy Treatments in Childhood: Chemotherapy has several short and long-term effects on children and adults. Some of the most common late-effects of chemotherapy treatment in children include hearing loss, pulmonary toxicity

Bhadra Kamalasanan
CancerWritten by: Bhadra KamalasananPublished at: Aug 06, 2012

Chemotherapy is a medical procedure by virtue of which drugs and medications are used to kill cancerous cells. The side-effects of chemotherapy for children depend on the type of drug that was given, its dosage and general health. Most of the side-effects in the children resolve with time and can be managed with the help of anti-nausea medications and other medications, though some tend to stay for long and appear much later than other common side-effects. Take a look at these late side-effects of chemotherapy in children.


You may also like reading: Short and Long Term Side-Effects of Chemotherapy


Cardiac Problems


A child, who has gone through chemotherapy treatment, may experience heart damage because of the chemotherapeutic agents, especially drugs, such as anthracycline drugs and cyclophosphamide. The effect of the second drug is more when it is administered at high doses. Some of the late effects that these drugs may have on the heart include:

  • Dropout of muscle fibres
  • Focal fibrosis
  • Free radical damage
  • Increased stress
  • Dilated Cardiomyopathy
  • Cardiac Toxicity


You may also like reading: Risks associated with Chemotherapy


Pulmonary Toxicity

Drugs, such as busulfan, bleomycin, methotrexate and nitrosoureas may cause long-term toxic effects on the lungs.


Effects on the Aural Structures

Hearing loss has been associated with difficulties in speech, communication and development of learning skills. Platinum-based chemotherapy can damage the cochlea resulting in sensorineural hearing loss. Hearing loss because of platinum-based chemotherapy is caused by cumulative dose-related damage to hair cells inside the cochlea. Most children may experience a loss of high-frequency hearing. The hearing loss may extend up to speech range at higher cumulative doses. According to experts, children are more exposed to this damage compared with adults.


Prevention Tips

The toxic effects of chemotherapy can be lessened or prevented with the help of chemoprotectants, such as dexrazoxane, which can lessen the cardiac toxicity of anthracyclines. In a study done by Dana Farber, it was found that dexrazoxane can decrease early cardiac toxicity in children, who received doxorubicin.


Read more articles on Chemotherapy.



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