Normal brain cells grow quickly in the first few years of life, making them very sensitive to radiation.
Doctors try to avoid using radiation therapy to the head or to postpone it in children younger than 3 years old to limit damage that might affect brain development.
But chemo drugs can damage normal cells, too, which can cause short-term and long-term side effects.
Chemotherapy damage to quickly dividing cells can cause side effects such as low blood cell counts, nausea, diarrhea, or hair loss during treatment.
Today, because of advances in treatment, more than 80% of children treated for cancer survive at least 5 years..
But the treatments that help these children survive their cancer can also cause health problems later on.
Younger children’s bodies tend to be more sensitive to the effects of radiation.In some cases, surgery may be fairly minor and may leave nothing more than a scar.In other situations it may need to be more extensive and require removing part or all of an organ, or even a limb.These short-term side effects usually go away over time after treatment is over.Late effects, on the other hand, may happen many years later. This means that many different kinds of healthy, normal cells are dividing faster than they would be in an adult.Doctors do their best to limit the effects of surgery by striking a balance between removing all of the cancer and taking out as little healthy body tissue as possible.