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The Effects Of Cancer Treatment On Children

1604 words - 7 pages

Being a child diagnosed with cancer can be very devastating. The chemotherapy and/or radiation used to treat the cancer changes every aspect of the child’s life. The therapy depletes the child’s energy, causes nausea and vomiting, and the risk for infection often keeps them confined to their homes. Though attempts are made to try to maintain the same lifestyle prior to cancer treatment, the child endures countless changes to their activity level, friendships, and emotions. What happens to them when treatment ends? Does their life go back to normal as if cancer never happened, and the side effects from chemotherapy will no longer affect them? Just because they have been declared cancer ...view middle of the document...

Research has found that chemotherapy has progressive effects and often delay damage to the myelin in the brain. A study conducted by Silverman and associates showed alterations in activity of frontal cortex, cerebellum, and basal ganglia in cancer survivors were documented by functional neuroimaging five to ten years after completion of chemotherapy (National Center for Biotechnology Information [NCBI], 2008). Chemotherapy also causes problems with vision. According to the American Cancer Society (2014), “Certain chemo drugs can be toxic to the eye and may lead to problems like blurred vision, double vision, and glaucoma.” Chemotherapy can also cause hearing impairments. Some teenagers going through chemotherapy have to stop driving because of their impaired vision and hearing, poor coordination, and delayed reaction time. These impairments can restrict their social activities keeping them isolated at home.
Chemotherapy causes countless side effects to the musculoskeletal system. Children that are going through chemotherapy often complain of muscle, joint, and bone pain. It is very common for children to need physical therapy during their chemotherapy treatments. According to the American Cancer Society (2014), “These drugs can sometimes cause osteonecrosis in which the blood vessels feeding the bones are damaged. This can cause parts of bones to weaken or die, which in turn can cause pain (especially at bone joints) or even breaks in the bone. Osteonecrosis can affect any bone, but most often it affects parts of bones around the hips or knees.” Unfortunately these children may be force to limit their activity because of the pain. Often times they are unable to participate in the sports or other physical activities they were able to participate in prior to chemotherapy. Therapy can also affect the growth and development of children. Damage to endocrine glands such as the pituitary gland can slow growth. The pituitary gland releases growth hormone which stimulates the body to grow (American Cancer Society, 2014). The teeth also suffer from complications related to chemotherapy. Teeth become discolored, sensitive, and can also fall out because of shortened roots. These complication are evidence that chemotherapy is not selective to just cancer alone.
As if the thought of having cancer is not difficult enough, these children often have to face the possibility of having complications with their reproductive system. Parents of children and the child receiving chemotherapy and/or radiation may have to think about the effects to fertility long before they should have to. Often times these children are too young to understand how therapy can affect their ability to conceive children. These children are usually at an age that they are not thinking about having babies. Young boys may have to do sperm banking because chemotherapy and radiation can damage sperm production. According to the American Cancer Society (2014), “the cells in the...

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