Unfortunately, survivors of childhood brain tumors frequently develop problems in the areas of intellectual ability, academic achievement, memory, and attention. Although many different factors are probably responsible for these changes, including tumor location and surgery, age (younger than 7 years) at diagnosis and treatment with radiation therapy are the major risk factors for neurocognitive impairments.
Late effects span a spectrum from mild and easily treatable problems (such as an underactive thyroid) to, on rare occasions, serious and life-threatening problems (a second, new cancer). One way to determine your risk for late effects is through the Oncolink Web site. On the site, a person can create a survivorship care plan based on medical history.
The following is a list of comprehensive late effects clinics. These clinics follow the Children’s Oncology Group (COG) long-term guidelines for survivors of childhood, adolescent and young adult cancer. They address the medical, educational, and quality of life issues faced by brain tumor survivors.
There are two important reasons that you should participate in follow-up at a late effects clinic: