Side effects and complications of treatment
Treatment often causes side effects and these will be discussed before treatment starts.
The possible side effects of chemotherapy depend upon the drugs used but may include nausea and vomiting, hair loss, reduced resistance to infection, bruising and bleeding, tiredness and diarrhoea.
These problems are all temporary and can be minimised with good supportive care.
The outlook for children with germ cell tumours is good.
Children will have regular follow-ups to check for any recurrence of the cancer and for any problems which may arise as a result of the treatment they were given.
A small number of children may develop long-term problems because of their cancer treatment.
Surgery and radiotherapy may both cause functional or cosmetic problems depending on the area of the body in which the tumour occurred. Removal of a single ovary or testis should not affect a child’s future ability to have children.
Chemotherapy may cause problems with heart and kidney function, fertility problems and a small increase in risk of developing another cancer.
Occasionally, the cancer can recur. This is called a relapse. Relapse occurs most likely as a result of a few of the original cancer cells surviving the treatment. Sometimes, this is because cancer cells spread to other parts of the body and were too small to be detected during the follow-up immediately after treatment.
The treatment and prognosis for relapsed disease will depend on a number of factors including the site of relapse.
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