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ON THIS PAGE: You will read about your child’s medical care after cancer treatment is finished and why this follow-up care is important. To see other pages in this guide, use the colored boxes on the right side of your screen, or click “Next” at the bottom.
After treatment for brain stem glioma 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 brain stem glioma should have life-long, follow-up care.
Your child’s follow-up care plan and the long-term risks of treatment depend on several factors, such as the type of tumor and its location, your child’s age when diagnosed, and the type of treatment. For example, radiation therapy to the brain and spine can cause cognitive (thought-process) and endocrine (hormonal) symptoms over time, although the severity can vary depending on the dose given and your child’s age. Similarly, 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 a secondary tumor strongly depend on the specific drugs used and the dosage. For each of these issues, it is important to discuss the specific aspects of the tumor and the options for treatment with the doctors that are involved in your child's care.
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 a secondary tumor. 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 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.
To continue reading this guide, choose “Next” (below, right) for a list of questions you may want to ask your child’s doctor. Or, use the colored boxes located on the right side of your screen to visit any section.