Side-effects of childhood cancer treatment
The side-effects your child might get depend on the type of treatment, the dose, how long they have treatment for and how their cancer is affecting their body.
How long will side-effects last?
Side-effects may happen straight away, 7-10 days following treatment or even months or years later.
Usually any side effects from chemotherapy are worse just after treatment and improve towards the end of the rest period, just before the next chemotherapy treatment is due.
Some side-effects can last for a long time or even be permanent. It is also possible for side-effects to develop and persist some time after treatment is completed. These are called late side-effects and will require ongoing follow-up.
Will my child definitely get side-effects from treatment?
Not all children will get side-effects, but many do. Your doctor or nurse will discuss any possible side-effects with you before treatment. You can read about the different treatments to find out more about possible side-effects.
Some common side-effects and symptoms are listed below, but your child may experience others not listed.
If you have any worries about your child, always let your medical team know.
Possible side-effects and symptoms
- Increased risk of infection (low white blood cells)
- Anaemia (low red blood cells)
- Bleeding / bruising (low platelet blood cells)
- Hair loss
- Sore mouth
- Fatigue / tiredness
- Nausea and vomiting
- Constipation and diarrhoea
- Difficulty eating / weight loss
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