Early bouts with cancer linked to developmental delays


Infants and toddlers who have been treated for cancer tend to reach certain developmental milestones later than their healthy peers, according to a study.

The findings by researchers with the National Institutes of Health and in Italy show delays may occur early in the course of treatment and suggest that young children with cancer might benefit from early interventions such as physical or language therapy.

Compared to children who had not had cancer, children treated for cancer before age 4 progressed more slowly in vocabulary, cognitive functions such as attention and memory, and motor skills. However, having cancer did not appear to affect children’s social and emotional development. Their ability to respond to their parents, for example, was comparable to that of their peers who did not have cancer. Also unaffected by cancer was the ability to engage in make-believe play, such as pretending to pour and serve tea, which typically develops between 12 and 18 months of age.

Source: National Nursing News

Available at: http://news.nurse.com/article/20120311/NATIONAL02/103120041

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