Late Effects of Treatment for Childhood Cancer (PDQ®): Treatment - Patient Information [NCI]

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Late Effects of Treatment for Childhood Cancer

General Information About Late Effects

Late effects are treatment-related health problems that appear months or years after treatment has ended.

The treatment of cancer may damage healthy cells at the same time it destroys cancer cells. Some cancer treatments, such as chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and bone marrow or stem cell transplant, stop the growth of rapidly dividing cells, such as cancer cells. Since bones, tissues, and organs that are growing with the child have cells that are also dividing rapidly, cancer treatment can prevent them from developing normally. Other cancer treatments include surgery to remove all or part of certain organs that have cancer in them. The damage from these cancer treatments can be mild or serious, and the effects may be seen during treatment or months to years later.

Side effects that continue or appear after cancer treatment has ended are called late effects. It is important for the parents and the patient to know that children treated for cancer (childhood cancer survivors) may develop late effects from their treatment.

Late effects of cancer treatment may affect the following in childhood cancer survivors:

  • Organs, bones, or body tissues.
  • Mood, feelings, and actions.
  • Thinking, learning, and memory.

The risk of developing late effects is related to the type of cancer or type of treatment.

The risk that a cancer treatment will cause late effects depends on many things, including the following:

  • The type of cancer and where it is in the body.
  • The child's age (when treated).
  • The type and amount of treatment.
  • The area treated.
  • Genetic factors or health problems the child had before the cancer.

Regular follow-up by health professionals who are expert in finding and treating late effects is important for the long-term health of childhood cancer survivors. Records about the cancer diagnosis and treatment, including all test results, should be kept by childhood cancer survivors (or their caregivers). This information may be used to help find and treat late effects.

Doctors are studying the late effects that cancer treatments cause in childhood cancer survivors. They are trying to find out if changing treatment can help prevent or lessen late effects in childhood cancer survivors.

Central Nervous System

Cancer treatments to the central nervous system (CNS) may affect the child's brain.

Childhood cancer survivors who received radiation therapy to the head, brain surgery, or intrathecal chemotherapy are at risk of having problems in the following areas:

  • Thinking.
  • Learning.
  • Problem solving.
  • Speech.
  • Reading.
  • Writing.
  • Memory.
  • Coordinating movement between the eyes, hands, and other muscles.

Survivors may have learning disabilities or a lower IQ.

Certain factors increase the risk that CNS late effects will occur.

The following factors may increase the risk of CNSlate effects:

  • Being young at the time of treatment (the younger the child, the greater the risk).
  • Having a tumor in the CNS.
  • Receiving certain combinations of treatment, such as high-dose chemotherapy and radiation therapy to the brain.

CNS late effects may be caused by treatment for certain childhood cancers.

Treatment for these and other childhood cancers may cause CNS late effects:

  • Acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL).
  • Central nervous system (CNS) tumors.
  • Head and neck cancers.

Survivors of childhood cancer may have anxiety and depression related to their cancer.

Survivors of childhood cancer may have anxiety and depression related to physical changes, appearance, or the fear of cancer coming back. These problems may prevent survivors from returning to their normal routines and activities. They may also cause problems with personal relationships, education, employment, and health.

Some cancer survivors have post-traumatic stress disorder.

Being diagnosed with a life-threatening disease and receiving treatment for it is often traumatic. This trauma may cause a group of symptoms called post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). PTSD is defined as having certain symptoms following a stressful event that involved death or the threat of death, serious injury, or a threat to oneself or others. People who have survived very stressful situations, such as military combat or natural disasters, may also have PTSD.

PTSD can affect cancer survivors in the following ways:

  • Reliving the time they were diagnosed and treated for cancer, in nightmares or flashbacks, and thinking about it all the time.
  • Avoiding places, events, and people that remind them of the cancer experience.
  • Being constantly overexcited, fearful, irritable, or unable to sleep, or having trouble concentrating.

Family problems, little or no social support from family or friends, and stress not related to the cancer may increase the chances of having PTSD. Because avoiding places and persons connected to the cancer is part of PTSD, survivors with PTSD may not try to get the medical treatment they need.

Senses

Ears

Childhood cancer survivors may have late effects that affect hearing.

Certain factors increase the risk that hearing loss will occur.

The risk of hearing loss may be increased in childhood cancer survivors who received either of the following:

  • Certain anticancer drugs, such as cisplatin or carboplatin.
  • Radiation therapy to the brain.

Risk may also be increased in childhood cancer survivors who were young at the time of treatment (the younger the child, the greater the risk).

Hearing late effects may be caused by treatment for certain childhood cancers.

Treatment for these and other childhood cancers may cause hearing late effects:

  • Central nervous system (CNS) tumors.
  • Neuroblastoma.
  • Head and neck cancers.

Eyes

Childhood cancer survivors may have late effects that affect the eyes.

Eye late effects may include the following:

  • Bone growth problems around the eye socket that affect the shape of the child's face as it grows.
  • Dry eye.
  • Cataracts.
  • Damage to the optic nerve and retina.
  • Poor vision.
  • Drooping eyelids.
  • Eyelid tumors.

Certain factors increase the risk that damage to the eye or eye socket will occur.

The following may increase the risk of damage to the eye or eye socket:

  • Being younger than 1 year at the time of treatment.
  • Tumor of the retina.

The risk may also be increased in childhood cancer survivors who had either of the following:

  • An eye removed by surgery.
  • Radiation therapy to the eye or eye socket.

Eye late effects may be caused by radiation treatments for certain childhood cancers.

Radiation therapy for these and other childhood cancers may cause eye late effects:

  • Retinoblastoma, rhabdomyosarcoma, and other tumors of the eye.
  • Central nervous system (CNS) tumors.
  • Head and neck cancers.

Digestive System

Teeth and jaw

Childhood cancer survivors may have late effects that affect the teeth and jaw.

Teeth and jaw late effects may include the following:

  • Teeth are small or do not have a normal shape.
  • The roots of the teeth are short.
  • Missing teeth.
  • New teeth come in at a later than normal age.
  • The head and face do not reach full growth.
  • Tooth enamel is not normal.
  • Salivary glands do not make enough saliva.
  • Tooth decay (including cavities) and gum disease.

Certain factors increase the risk that teeth and jaw late effects will occur.

The risk of teeth and jaw late effects may be increased in childhood cancer survivors who received any of the following:

  • Radiation therapy to the head and neck.
  • Chemotherapy to treat leukemia.
  • High-dose chemotherapy with stem cell transplant and total-body irradiation (TBI) to treat neuroblastoma.

Risk may also be increased in survivors who were younger than 3 years at the time of treatment.

It is important that childhood cancer survivors have regular dental checkups to help prevent or detect infection or decay.

Teeth and jaw late effects may be caused by treatment for certain childhood cancers.

Treatment for these and other childhood cancers may cause teeth and jaw late effects:

  • Central nervous system (CNS) leukemia.
  • Neuroblastoma.
  • Hodgkin lymphoma.
  • Head and neck cancers.
  • Nasopharyngeal cancer.

Liver

Childhood cancer survivors may have late effects that affect the liver.

Liverlate effects may include the following:

  • Hepaticfibrosis (an overgrowth of connective tissue in the liver).
  • Liver failure.
  • Portalhypertension.
  • Hepatitis Cinfection.
  • Permanent liver damage caused by veno-occlusive disease.

Hepatic fibrosis, hepatitis C infection, and veno-occlusive disease can cause long-term problems.

Certain factors increase the risk that liver late effects will occur.

The risk of liver late effects may be increased in childhood cancer survivors who received any of the following:

  • A blood transfusion before 1992.
  • Radiation therapy together with chemotherapy.
  • Chemotherapy with thioguanine to treat acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL).

Risk may also be increased in survivors who had liver disease before treatment or developed veno-occlusive disease during treatment.

Liver late effects may be caused by treatment for certain childhood cancers.

Treatment for these and other childhood cancers may cause liver late effects:

  • Acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL).
  • Neuroblastoma.
  • Wilms tumor.

Digestive tract

Childhood cancer survivors may have late effects that affect the digestive tract.

Digestive tractlate effects may include the following:

  • Ulcers.
  • Bowel perforation (a hole in the intestine).
  • Pain in the abdomen.
  • Inability of the intestine to absorb nutrients from food.
  • A narrowing of the intestine.
  • Blocked bowel (chronic).
  • Infection.
  • Diarrhea (chronic).

These effects may be caused by damage to the blood vessels, which may lead to long-term problems.

Radiation therapy to the abdomen may damage blood vessels and increase the risk of digestive tract late effects.

Digestive tract late effects may be caused by treatment for certain childhood cancers.

Treatment for these and other childhood cancers may cause digestive tract late effects:

  • Paratesticular rhabdomyosarcoma.
  • Wilms tumor.

Spleen

Childhood cancer survivors may have late effects that affect the spleen.

Spleenlate effects may increase the risk of life-threatening bacterialinfections.

Certain factors increase the risk that spleen late effects will occur.

The risk of spleen late effects may be increased in childhood cancer survivors who received either of the following:

  • Splenectomy (surgery to remove the spleen).
  • High-doseradiation therapy to the spleen.

It is very important that childhood cancer survivors who received either of these treatments keep immunizations up-to-date and receive antibiotics before having any dental work.

Spleen late effects may be caused by treatment for childhood Hodgkin lymphoma and other childhood cancers.

Heart

Childhood cancer survivors may have late effects that affect the heart.

Heart late effects may include the following:

  • Abnormal heartbeat.
  • Disease of the heart muscle.
  • Congestive heart failure.
  • Increased risk of stroke, blood clots, and chest pains.
  • Tiring quickly during exercise.
  • Coronary artery disease (hardening of the heart arteries).

Certain factors may increase the risk that heart late effects will occur.

The following may increase the risk of heart late effects:

  • Being female.
  • Being young at the time of treatment (the younger the child, the greater the risk).
  • Having other risk factors for heart disease, such as a family history of heart disease, being overweight, smoking, or having high blood pressure, high cholesterol, or diabetes.
  • Having received a stem cell transplant.

This risk may also increase as the amounts of anthracycline drugs and radiation used increase and as the time since treatment gets longer.

Heart late effects may be caused by treatment for certain childhood cancers.

Treatment for these and other childhood cancers may cause heart late effects:

  • Acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL).
  • Central nervous system (CNS) tumors.
  • Hodgkin lymphoma.
  • Wilms tumor.

Lung

Childhood cancer survivors may have late effects that affect the lungs.

Lunglate effects may include the following:

  • Shortness of breath.
  • Cough (chronic).
  • Pulmonaryfibrosis (the build-up of scar tissue in the lung).
  • Pneumonia (chronic).
  • Inflamed lungs or pleura.

Certain factors increase the risk that lung problems will occur.

The risk of lung late effects may be increased in childhood cancer survivors who had either of the following:

  • Infections or graft-versus-host disease after a bone marrow transplant.
  • Lung disease, such as asthma, before cancer treatment.

Risk may also be increased in survivors who received any of the following:

  • Certain anticancer drugs, such as bleomycin or doxorubicin.
  • Radiation therapy to the chest.
  • Stem cell transplant.

Lung late effects may be caused by treatment for certain childhood cancers.

Treatment for these and other childhood cancers may cause lung late effects:

  • Acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL).
  • Hodgkin lymphoma.
  • Non-Hodgkin lymphoma.
  • Wilms tumor.

Kidney

Childhood cancer survivors may have late effects that affect the kidneys.

Kidneylate effects may include the following:

  • Renal tubular acidosis.
  • Fanconi syndrome.
  • Kidney failure.
  • Hypertension (high blood pressure).

Certain factors increase the risk that kidney problems will occur.

The following may increase the risk of kidney late effects:

  • Having cancer in both kidneys.
  • Being young at the time of treatment (the younger the child, the greater the risk).
  • Having a geneticsyndrome that increases the risk of kidney problems, such as Denys-Drash syndrome.

Risk may also be increased in childhood cancer survivors who received any of the following:

  • Certain anticancer drugs, such as cisplatin, carboplatin, or ifosfamide.
  • Certain antibiotics or antifungal drugs.
  • Radiation therapy to the kidney or areas near the kidney.

Kidney late effects may be caused by treatment for Wilms' tumor and other childhood cancers.

Thyroid

Childhood cancer survivors may have late effects that affect the thyroid.

Thyroidlate effects may include the following:

  • Hypothyroidism (not enough thyroid hormone).
  • Hyperthyroidism (too much thyroid hormone).
  • Goiter.
  • Lumps in the thyroid.

Certain factors increase the risk that thyroid problems will occur.

The risk of thyroid late effects may be increased in childhood cancer survivors who received either of the following:

  • Radiation therapy to the head and neck.
  • Total-body irradiation (TBI) as part of a stem cell transplant.

The risk may also be greater in females and may increase as the amount of time since diagnosis gets longer.

Thyroid late effects may be caused by treatment for certain childhood cancers.

Treatment for these and other childhood cancers may cause thyroid late effects:

  • Acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL).
  • Brain tumors.
  • Hodgkin lymphoma.
  • Head and neck cancers.

Neuroendocrine System

Childhood cancer survivors may have late effects that affect the neuroendocrine system.

Neuroendocrinelate effects may include the following:

  • Low levels of pituitaryhormones, including growth hormone.
  • Early puberty (especially in females).
  • Late puberty.
  • Disorders of the hypothalamus.
  • Pituitary gland problems.

Childhood cancer survivors who received a stem cell transplant with total-body irradiation (TBI) have an increased risk of growth disorders.

Their risk is affected as follows:

  • Low levels of growth hormone are more likely if the survivor:
    • is female; or
    • received radiation therapy to the head before the transplant; or
    • received TBI in a single dose instead of divided doses; or
    • had graft-versus-host disease; or
    • received busulfan and cyclophosphamide.
  • Adult height that is shorter than normal is more likely if the survivor:
    • is male; or
    • received the transplant at a young age; or
    • received TBI in a single dose instead of divided doses.

Neuroendocrine late effects may be caused by treatment for certain childhood cancers.

Treatment for these and other childhood cancers may cause neuroendocrine late effects:

  • Acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL).
  • Central nervous system (CNS) tumors.
  • Lymphoma.

Musculoskeletal System

Bone

Childhood cancer survivors may have late effects that affect the bones.

Bone late effects may include the following:

  • Bone pain.
  • Joint stiffness.
  • Weak or thin bones that can break easily.
  • Decreased amounts of calcium in bones.
  • Decreased bone and tissue growth in treated areas.

Certain factors increase the risk that bone late effects will occur.

The following may increase the risk of bone late effects:

  • Being female.
  • Being older at the time of treatment.
  • Having low levels of estrogen or growth hormone.

Risk may also be increased in childhood cancer survivors who received either of the following:

  • Radiation therapy, especially to the head and spine.
  • Steroids, such as dexamethasone, with cancer treatment.

Bone late effects may be caused by treatment for certain childhood cancers.

Treatment for these and other childhood cancers may cause bone late effects:

  • Acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL).
  • Central nervous system (CNS) tumors.
  • Bone cancer.
  • Wilms tumor.
  • Osteosarcoma.
  • Soft tissue sarcoma.

Body weight

Childhood cancer survivors may have late effects that affect body weight and cause obesity.

The following may increase the risk of obesity:

  • Being female and having received treatment at age 4 years or younger, with high-doseradiation therapy to the head.
  • Being young at the time of treatment (the younger the child, the greater the risk).
  • Being slender at the time of diagnosis.
  • Having an increase in body fat at an earlier than normal age.

Obesity may be caused by treatment for certain childhood cancers.

Treatment for these and other childhood cancers may cause obesity:

  • Acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL).
  • Brain tumors.
  • Hodgkin lymphoma.
  • Non-Hodgkin lymphoma.

Reproductive System

Testicles

Childhood cancer survivors may have late effects that affect the testicles.

Testicularlate effects may cause infertility or a low sperm count. Low sperm counts may be temporary or permanent depending on the radiationdose and schedule, the area of the body treated, and the age when treated.

Certain factors increase the risk that testicular late effects will occur.

The risk of testicular late effects may be increased in childhood cancer survivors who received either of the following:

  • Chemotherapy with alkylating agents, such as cyclophosphamide, procarbazine, and ifosfamide.
  • Radiation therapy to the abdomen.

Testicular late effects may be caused by treatment for certain childhood cancers.

Treatment for these and other childhood cancers may cause testicular late effects:

  • Acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL).
  • Osteosarcoma.
  • Hodgkin lymphoma.
  • Sarcoma.

Ovaries

Childhood cancer survivors may have late effects that affect the ovaries.

Ovarianlate effects may include the following:

  • Infertility.
  • Irregular menstrual periods.
  • Ovarian failure.
  • Early menopause.

Certain factors increase the risk that ovarian late effects will occur.

The risk of ovarian late effects may be increased in childhood cancer survivors who received any of the following:

  • Chemotherapy with alkylating agents, such as cyclophosphamide, mechlorethamine, procarbazine, and ifosfamide.
  • Radiation therapy together with alkylating agents.
  • Treatment at an older age.

Uterus

Childhood cancer survivors may have late effects that affect the uterus.

The uterus may become less elastic and grow to a size that is smaller than normal. This can cause an increased risk of miscarriage and premature birth. Growth of the fetus within the uterus may also be affected.

The risk of uterine late effects may be increased in women who received radiation therapy to the abdomen.

Ovarian and uterine late effects may be caused by treatment for childhood osteosarcoma and other childhood cancers.

Reproduction

Childhood cancer survivors may have late effects that affect pregnancies.

Late effects on pregnancies include increased risk of the following:

  • Miscarriage.
  • Ending the pregnancy for medical reasons.
  • Low birth-weight babies.
  • Early labor.
  • Premature delivery.
  • Abnormal position of the fetus.
  • Birth defects.

For male survivors of childhood cancer, there is an increased risk that their children may be stillborn.

Certain stem cell and bone marrow transplants increase the risk of infertility.

Stem cell and bone marrow transplants that include total-body irradiation (TBI), cyclophosphamide, or busulfan may damage the ovaries. Problems with the ovaries, fertility, and the ability to carry a baby to term may occur.

There are methods that may be used to help childhood cancer survivors have children.

The following methods may be used so that childhood cancer survivors can have children:

  • Freezing the eggs or sperm before cancer treatment in patients who have reached puberty.
  • In vitro fertilization (IVF).

There is a risk that there may be cancer cells in the saved eggs, sperm, or embryo. This risk is highest in patients who had cancer of the blood, testicles, or ovaries.

Children of childhood cancer survivors are usually not affected by a parent's prior cancer treatment.

Survivors of childhood cancer may wonder if their children will have birth defects, inherited diseases, or cancer. There is a small increase in the risk of birth defects in the children of females who received radiation therapy to the lower back, but most children of childhood cancer survivors are born healthy.

There may be an increased risk of birth defects in children whose embryos were created in the laboratory and an increased risk of cancer in the children of cancer survivors who had second cancers.

Second Cancers

Childhood cancer survivors have an increased risk of developing a second cancer later in life.

Certain factors related to treatment increase the risk of second cancers. These include the following:

  • Radiation therapy may cause solid tumors and leukemia.
  • Risk of second cancers after radiation therapy is increased if alkylating agents were also used and if the patient is female, was younger at the time of diagnosis, or had Hodgkin lymphoma or soft tissuecancer.
  • Certain anticancer drugs, such as alkylating agents or platinum drugs, may cause leukemia and myelodysplastic syndrome.
  • Survivors of childhood Hodgkin lymphoma have the highest risk of developing second cancers, especially breast or thyroid cancer. Young age at diagnosis and treatment for relapsed disease increase the risk.
  • Bone marrow transplants increase the risk of tumors later in life.

Childhood cancer survivors with certain genetic syndromes have an increased risk of developing a second cancer.

Some childhood cancer survivors have an increased risk of developing a second cancer because they have certain geneticsyndromes that also placed them at risk of developing the primary cancer. These include the following:

  • Neurofibromatosis.
  • Li-Fraumeni syndrome.
  • Familial polyposis.
  • The genetic form of retinoblastoma.

Frequent and careful follow-up exams are very important for these childhood cancer survivors.

Mortality

Improvements in cancer treatment have decreased the number of deaths from primary cancer. The number of late effects in childhood cancer survivors may increase with age, however, and survivors may not live as long as people who did not have cancer. The most common causes of death in childhood cancer survivors include the following:

  • Relapse of the primary cancer.
  • Second cancer.
  • Heart damage.

Studies of the causes of late effects have led to changes in treatment. This has improved the quality of life for cancer survivors and helped to prevent deaths from late effects.

Long-Term Follow-Up

Regular follow-up care is very important for survivors of childhood cancer.

Follow-up care will be different for each person who has been treated for cancer, depending on the type of cancer, the type of treatment, and the person's general health. It is important that childhood cancer survivors receive regular exams by a health care provider who is familiar with their treatments and risks and who can recognize the early signs of late effects.

Childhood cancer survivors are more likely to need special education services, especially survivors of central nervous system tumors, leukemia, and Hodgkin disease.

The childhood cancer survivor's follow-up care will go on into adulthood. It ideally includes the survivor's primary doctor and specialists; educational, vocational, and social service systems; and the family.

Long-term follow-up improves the health and quality of life for cancer survivors and also helps doctors study the late effects of cancer treatments so that safer therapies for newly diagnosed children may be developed.

Behaviors that promote health are important for survivors of childhood cancer.

The quality of life enjoyed by cancer survivors may be improved by behaviors that promote their future health and well-being, such as a healthy diet, exercise, and regular medical and dental checkups. These self-care behaviors are especially important for cancer survivors because of their risk of treatment-related health problems. Healthy behaviors may make late effects less severe and lower the risk of other diseases.

Avoiding behaviors that are damaging to health is also important. Smoking, excess alcohol use, and the use of illegal drugs increase the risk of organ damage and, possibly, of second cancers.

To Learn More About Late Effects of Treatment for Childhood Cancer

For more information from the National Cancer Institute about late effects of treatment for childhood cancer, see the following:

  • Adult Survivors of Childhood Cancer Are Prone to Chronic Health Conditions
  • Long-Term Follow-Up Guidelines for Survivors of Childhood, Adolescent, and Young Adult Cancers
  • Late Effects Directory of Services

For more childhood cancer information and other general cancer resources from the National Cancer Institute, see the following:

  • What You Need to Know About™ Cancer - An Overview
  • Childhood Cancers
  • CureSearch - National Childhood Cancer Foundation Children's Oncology Group
  • Late Effects of Treatment for Childhood Cancer
  • Adolescents and Young Adults with Cancer
  • Young People with Cancer: A Handbook for Parents
  • Care for Children and Adolescents with Cancer: Questions and Answers
  • Understanding Cancer Series: Cancer
  • Staging: Questions and Answers
  • Coping with Cancer: Supportive and Palliative Care
  • Cancer Library
  • Information for Survivors/Caregivers/Advocates

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Changes to This Summary (08 / 13 / 2009)

The PDQcancer information summaries are reviewed regularly and updated as new information becomes available. This section describes the latest changes made to this summary as of the date above.

Changes were made to this summary to match those made to the health professional version.

About PDQ

PDQ IS A COMPREHENSIVE CANCER DATABASE AVAILABLE ON NCI'S WEB SITE.

PDQ is the National Cancer Institute's (NCI's) comprehensive cancer information database. Most of the information contained in PDQ is available online at NCI's Web site. PDQ is provided as a service of the NCI. The NCI is part of the National Institutes of Health, the federal government's focal point for biomedical research.

PDQ CONTAINS CANCER INFORMATION SUMMARIES.

The PDQ database contains summaries of the latest published information on cancer prevention, detection, genetics, treatment, supportive care, and complementary and alternative medicine. Most summaries are available in two versions. The health professional versions provide detailed information written in technical language. The patient versions are written in easy-to-understand, nontechnical language. Both versions provide current and accurate cancer information.

THE PDQ CANCER INFORMATION SUMMARIES ARE DEVELOPED BY CANCER EXPERTS AND REVIEWED REGULARLY.

Editorial Boards made up of experts in oncology and related specialties are responsible for writing and maintaining the cancer information summaries. The summaries are reviewed regularly and changes are made as new information becomes available. The date on each summary ("Date Last Modified") indicates the time of the most recent change.

PDQ ALSO CONTAINS INFORMATION ON CLINICAL TRIALS.

A clinical trial is a study to answer a scientific question, such as whether one treatment is better than another. Trials are based on past studies and what has been learned in the laboratory. Each trial answers certain scientific questions in order to find new and better ways to help cancer patients. During treatment clinical trials, information is collected about the effects of a new treatment and how well it works. If a clinical trial shows that a new treatment is better than one currently being used, the new treatment may become "standard." In the United States, about two-thirds of children with cancer are treated in a clinical trial at some point in their illness.

Listings of clinical trials are included in PDQ and are available online at NCI's Web site. Descriptions of the trials are available in health professional and patient versions. For additional help in locating a childhood cancer clinical trial, call the Cancer Information Service at 1-800-4-CANCER (1-800-422-6237).

THE PDQ DATABASE CONTAINS LISTINGS OF GROUPS SPECIALIZING IN CLINICAL TRIALS.

The Children's Oncology Group (COG) is the major group that organizes clinical trials for childhood cancers in the United States. Information about contacting COG is available on the NCI Web site or from the Cancer Information Service at 1-800-4-CANCER (1-800-422-6237).

Date Last Modified: 2009-08-13


If you want to know more about cancer and how it is treated, or if you wish to know about clinical trials for your type of cancer, you can call the NCI's Cancer Information Service at 1-800-422-6237, toll free. A trained information specialist can talk with you and answer your questions.


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