Germ Cell Tumor - Childhood: After Treatment

Approved by the Cancer.Net Editorial Board, 09/2014

ON THIS PAGE: You will read about your child’s medical care after treatment for a germ cell tumor 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 a germ cell tumor 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 germ cell tumor should have life-long, follow-up care.

Generally, children treated for a germ cell tumor are monitored using physical examinations, x-rays, and blood tests for two years after treatment ends to check for possible recurrence. After this time, it is unlikely that the tumor will recur, and the focus of follow-up care changes to watching for possible late side effects of chemotherapy, if given. Because of the effects of the drugs most commonly used to treat a germ cell tumor, regular tests may be needed for kidney function; lung function; fertility, which is the ability to have children; blood cell production; growth and development abnormalities; and the possibility of secondary cancers. Be sure to talk with your child’s doctor about the specific risks based on the specific chemotherapy used to treat your child.

Your child’s doctor can recommend the necessary examinations and tests for these late effects. 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.

In addition, the Children’s Oncology Group has information to help children and parents navigate the steps after treatment of a germ cell tumor. Children who have had a germ cell 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.