Follow-up care

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.

The Web site of the National Cancer Institute (

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