Chemotherapy is a medical procedure by virtue of which drugs and medications are used to kill cancerous cells. The side-effects of chemotherapy for children depend on the type of drug that was given, its dosage and general health. Most of the side-effects in the children resolve with time and can be managed with the help of anti-nausea medications and other medications, though some tend to stay for long and appear much later than other common side-effects. Take a look at these late side-effects of chemotherapy in children.
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A child, who has gone through chemotherapy treatment, may experience heart damage because of the chemotherapeutic agents, especially drugs, such as anthracycline drugs and cyclophosphamide. The effect of the second drug is more when it is administered at high doses. Some of the late effects that these drugs may have on the heart include:
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Drugs, such as busulfan, bleomycin, methotrexate and nitrosoureas may cause long-term toxic effects on the lungs.
Hearing loss has been associated with difficulties in speech, communication and development of learning skills. Platinum-based chemotherapy can damage the cochlea resulting in sensorineural hearing loss. Hearing loss because of platinum-based chemotherapy is caused by cumulative dose-related damage to hair cells inside the cochlea. Most children may experience a loss of high-frequency hearing. The hearing loss may extend up to speech range at higher cumulative doses. According to experts, children are more exposed to this damage compared with adults.
The toxic effects of chemotherapy can be lessened or prevented with the help of chemoprotectants, such as dexrazoxane, which can lessen the cardiac toxicity of anthracyclines. In a study done by Dana Farber, it was found that dexrazoxane can decrease early cardiac toxicity in children, who received doxorubicin.
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