A late effect is a chronic or late-occurring medical condition that persists or develops because of cancer or its treatment.
More than two-thirds of young adult survivors of childhood cancer eventually experience at least one “late effect,” with some survivors experiencing more. Late effects can occur in any organ or system of the body and vary from person to person.
- Some late effects may be serious or life threatening.
- They can be influenced by the original cancer diagnosis, age at diagnosis, gender, treatment, family history, aging process, and overall health.
- Some late effects will be visible, such as amputation of a limb or removal of an eye. Some will require testing in order to diagnose.
- Late effects may occur anytime following treatment and throughout adulthood.
- Late effects can often be prevented, controlled, or improved if anticipated and detected early.
Learn about the Childhood Cancer Survivorship Program at St. Louis Children's Hospital.