Preventing Radiation Damage to the Pediatric Cancer Brain

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Pediatric Cancer Patients are Living Longer Than Every Before. Now Let’s Help Them Live a Higher Quality of Life

I began my cancer journey at 34. Technically I am an AYA cancer survivor. While I struggle with the long-term and late stage side effects from aggressive chemo and radiation all those years ago I am lucky compared to pediatric cancer survivors.

Image result for photo of pediatric cancer patient

While conventional oncology has dramatically increased the overall survival of pediatric cancer patients, the aggressive therapies that may cure young cancer patients may then condemn the same cancer patients to a lifetime of long-term and late stage side effects all but assuring them a poor quality-of-life.

I have blogged about pediatric and AYA side effects frequently on PBC over the years. This post focuses just on the harms that radiation does to the pediatric brain. Specifically, the damage to the pituitary gland and the resulting hormone deficiencies that can occur.

Fortunately there are therapies to reduce or even prevent the damage done by radiation to young brains. These therapies are both conventional and non-conventional.

I am both a cancer survivor and cancer coach. For more information about late stage and long-term side effect prevention scroll down the page, post a comment or question and I will reply to you ASAP.

Thank you,

David Emerson

  • Cancer Survivor
  • Cancer Coach
  • Director PeopleBeatingCancer

Survivors of childhood cancer at risk for developing hormone deficiencies as adults

“Decades after undergoing cranial irradiation for childhood cancer, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital investigators found that adult survivors of pediatric cancer remain at risk for pituitary hormone deficiencies that may diminish their health and quality of life…

Researchers found that 51.4 percent of survivors were deficient in at least one of the hormones included in this study and 10.9 percent had multiple deficiencies…

Researchers also reported that the younger survivors were when they underwent cranial irradiation and the higher the radiation dose they received, the greater their risk for pituitary problems later.

Hormone deficiencies identified by the above linked study include:

  • growth hormone deficiency
  • low levels of gonadotropins
  • low levels of the hormones estrogen and testosterone
  • low levels of thyroid stimulating hormone
  • adrenocorticotropic hormone deficiencies

Radiation therapy and the Pediatric Brain- short, long and late side effects

“The article/studies linked below compares two different types of radiation therapy in addition to the areas radiated and the risk of cognitive decline in children and adult cancer survivors. In addition, please consider the option of forgoing radiation altogether as discussed in the article at the bottom….”

Certain treatments for childhood cancer may increase obesity risk later in life

“Previous research has shown that obesity rates are elevated in childhood cancer survivors who were exposed to cranial radiation…”

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