Now What

Arising after

You thought it was all over

But wait there is more.


For today’s Ragtag Daily Prompt of Sequelae.

I’m a retired family practice doctor, so sequelae is a familiar concept. Sequelae can be relatively mild and close after the initial event, such as a sinus infection following a cold. And then there are others, much delayed and much more severe. Childhood leukemia is an example. In my childhood, it was nearly always rapidly fatal. Successful treatments were developed, and now there is a high (75 to 90 percent) cure rate for the most common acute leukemias of childhood.  So most children live long after their diagnosis, which is a huge change.

However, the sequelae can be tough. There is often some stunting of growth, along with some learning difficulties. Infertility later in life can be an issue, and there is an increased likelihood of secondary cancers occurring many years down the road. None of these look like anything anyone would want to deal with, and yet, compared to near certain death, most find it semi-acceptable. Most of these sequelae are due to the relatively non-specific nature of the treatments of chemotherapy and radiation.  Currently there are amazing advances being made in immunotherapy, which can target specific treatment to just the abnormal cells, leaving normal cells and tissues much less affected. I’m hopeful that within another generation, sequelae to cancer treatment will be the exception rather than the rule.

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