Many children treated with transplant have a good quality of life. There are steps you and your child can take to improve your child’s health and manage any problems that come up after transplant.
Monitoring possible late effects of your child’s transplant
After a bone marrow or cord blood transplant some children may develop late effects, which are complications that appear months or even many years after treatment. Your doctor will help monitor and care for your child’s long-term health.
What causes late effects?
Resources for your child’s doctor
Your child’s follow-up care requires specialized knowledge. Your child’s regular doctor should consult with your transplant doctor about any questions specific to recovery after transplant. We also offer resources for doctors.
Late effects can be brought on by the disease itself being treated, treatment your child received prior to transplant, or treatment a child may have received during or after transplant, such as the preparative regimen or donor cells reacting against the child’s tissues (graft-versus-host disease).
The specific risks to your child depend on your child’s diagnosis, the treatment received, and your child’s age. Talk with your child’s transplant doctor about possible late effects and how to plan the best long-term follow-up care for your child.
If your child was treated for cancer, you can also get information about possible late effects based on specific chemotherapy and radiation treatments through the National Children’s Cancer Society online assessment tool. The website also provides a list of long-term follow-up clinics for childhood cancer survivors.
Guidelines for long-term care
Download our free post-transplant care toolkit and mobile app to use as your personal guide for your child's post-transplant follow-up care. With this app you will be able to:
- Access 6-month, 12-month and 2+ year annual checkup guidelines-anytime, anyplace
- Generate a list of tests and evaluations customized to your child's situation
- E-mail information to yourself, or your health care team
Helping your child take charge
As your child becomes older, your child will take on more of his or her own care and responsibilities for health management. During this transition into adulthood, it is helpful for your child to have a clear understanding of his or her diagnosis, treatment and health risks.
Get a medical history and treatment summary from your transplant center to keep on file. A summary should include your child's specific diagnosis and details of all treatments, including dates, names and doses of radiation, chemotherapy and other medications. If you've kept your own record of your child's treatments along the way, that will also be helpful for your child to share with doctors throughout their life.