"The majority of these patients were treated in an earlier era, and current treatment protocols are certainly much different in terms of the amount of radiation and the field size," said Dr. Rajaram Nagarajan, an assistant professor of hematology/oncology at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center. "But it will still take some time until we are able to assess how current changes are going to change these risks. The assumption is that they are going to reduce the risk."
Regardless, Nagarajan said, survivors need to receive regular care in centers and clinics specializing in the follow-up of pediatric cancer survivors.
"We have made a lot of changes in the past 10 to 15 years," he said. "The problem is, we're always five or 10 years behind in terms of assessing."
The Children's Oncology Group has follow-up guidelines for survivors of childhood cancers.
SOURCES: Louis S. Constine, M.D., professor, radiation oncology and pediatrics, and vice chair, department of radiation oncology, James P. Wilmot Cancer Center, University of Rochester Medical Center, N.Y.; Rajaram Nagarajan, M.D., assistant professor, hematology/oncology, Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center; Nancy Mendenhall, M.D., professor, radiation oncology, University of Florida and associate chair, department of radiation oncology, University of Florida College of Medicine, Gainesville; September 2009, The International Journal of Radiation Oncology Biology Physics