Astrocytoma - Childhood: After Treatment

This section has been reviewed and approved by the Cancer.Net Editorial Board, 03/2014

ON THIS PAGE: You will read about your child’s medical care after treatment is finished and why this follow-up care is important. To see other pages, use the menu on the side of your screen.

After treatment for astrocytoma ends, talk with your child’s doctor about developing a follow-up care plan. This plan may include regular physical examinations and/or medical tests to monitor your child’s recovery for the coming months and years. All children treated for a CNS tumor, including astrocytoma, should have life-long, follow-up care.

A child’s specific follow-up care plan depends on many factors, including the grade of tumor and its location, the child’s age, and the type of treatment given.

Based on the type of treatment your child received, the doctor will determine what examinations and tests are needed to check for long-term side effects and the possibility of secondary cancers. The risks and possible side effects of surgery vary widely, depending on the location and features of the tumor. Likewise, the risks of chemotherapy and the chance of secondary cancers are also based on the specific drugs used and their doses. Radiation therapy to the head and spine may cause cognitive (thought-process) and endocrine (hormonal) symptoms over time, although how serious these side effects are depends on the dose and the age of your child. Your child’s doctor can recommend the necessary screening tests. Follow-up care should also address your child’s quality of life, including any developmental or emotional concerns. Learn more about childhood cancer survivorship.

The child’s family is encouraged to organize and keep a record of the child’s medical information. That way, as the child enters adulthood, he or she has a clear, written history of the diagnosis, the treatment given, and the doctor’s recommendations about the schedule for follow-up care. The doctor’s office can help you create this. This information will be valuable to doctors who care for your child during his or her lifetime. ASCO offers treatment summary forms to help keep track of the treatment your child received and develop a survivorship care plan once treatment is completed.

Children who have had a CNS tumor can also enhance the quality of their future by following established guidelines for good health into and through adulthood, including not smoking, maintaining a healthy weight, eating a balanced diet, and participating in regular physical activity. Talk with the doctor about developing a plan that is best for your child’s needs. Learn more about the next steps to take in survivorship.

The next section offers a list of questions you may want to ask. Use the menu on the side of your screen to select Questions to Ask the Doctor, or you can select another section, to continue reading this guide.