Endocrine Abstracts (2017) 49 MTNE1 | DOI: 10.1530/endoabs.49.MTNE1

A paediatric perspective of endocrine late complications following childhood cancer

Tanya Urquhart


Dramatic improvements in cancer survival over the past four decades means that greater than 80% of children diagnosed with cancer can expect to survive for more than five years. For some cancers, such as acute lymphoblastic leukaemia and Hodgkin’s disease, cure rates exceed 90%. Currently, there are over 26000 young adults living in the UK, 600 000 across France, Italy, Switzerland, Netherlands and the Nordic countries and 363 000 in the US, who are survivors of childhood cancer (CCS). A late effect (LE) is the term used to describe any physical, psychological or social consequence of the disease itself or the disease treatment. The consequence of cytotoxic effects on maturing tissues may only become apparent many years following completion of treatment and with subsequent development, hence the term LE. Treatment for childhood cancer usually involves chemotherapy, radiotherapy (including radiosurgery) and surgery. These treatments can occur in isolation or in any combination, and can affect almost any system in the body. The most common effect of these treatments is on growth, endocrine function, fertility, neuropsychology and the cardiac systems. Two-thirds of childhood cancer survivors will experience at least one LE and the endocrine system is commonly involved. Another third of patients will develop two or more LE which may be severe or life threatening. Therefore this session will explore the endocrinopathies associated with the treatment for cancer in childhood using case studies to provide examples from practice. Knowledge of oncology and endocrinology are paramount for nurse specialists working with this patient cohort to ensure accurate education for young people about their past treatment and its implications for their future health. Transition will also be considered as these young people grow, develop and require continuing care from adult healthcare professionals.

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