The days, months, and even years following your last cancer treatment can be a very exciting and uncertain time for you and your loved ones. You may be feeling a sense of relief and excitement that you have beaten the disease, and your side effects may have subsided. However, you probably are wondering what changes to expect in your health and lifestyle, and you may even be worried that your cancer could come back.
Late effects are side effects that can occur five years or more after cancer treatments. Late effects can be caused by almost any kind of cancer treatment, including surgery, radiation therapy, or chemotherapy. Some examples of late effects include
Cancer.net has many resources for identifying late effects.
Late effects are a special concern for children with cancer, who receive treatment at a very young age and may develop side effects as adults. Chemotherapy and radiation therapy can limit children's growth or affect their sexual development. ACS lists many examples and resources for children with late effects.
Journey Forward is a program designed for healthcare providers and their patients who have recently completed active treatment for cancer. Journey Forward promotes the use of a Survivorship Care Plan with clear steps for care after active treatment. The plan begins with a treatment summary and offers guidelines for monitoring future care.