Long Term Side Effects of Chemotherapy

Long-term side effects of chemotherapy depend on the specific drugs received and whether the patient has received other treatments, such as radiation therapy. Permanent damage to some organs and systems, such as the reproductive system, may not be apparent until after chemotherapy is finished.

When young children receive chemotherapy for cancer treatment, it may affect their growth and development, including their ability to learn. The impact on a child’s development varies, depending on the child’s age, the specific drugs that are given, the dosage and length of treatment, and whether or not chemotherapy is used along with other types of treatment such as radiation.

Again, the ONS has excellent resources for side effects of chemotherapy. Please click here to read more about an Managing Cognitive Impairment in Children with Cancer.

Nerve damage can develop months or years after treatment. Signs of nerve damage may include personality changes, sleepiness, impaired memory, shortened attention span, seizures, hearing loss or tinnitus, and changes in sensation in the hands and feet. Until the immune system returns to normal, a person receiving chemotherapy is at increased risk of bacterial and viral infections, such as pneumonia and shingles.