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Childhood cancer causes developmental delays

Childhood cancer causes developmental delays
12th March 2012

Cancer treatment at an early age could cause a delay in reaching developmental milestones.

A National Institutes of Health study found that infants and toddlers who have undergone treatment for cancer showed slower progress in their vocabulary, cognitive functions and motor skills.

Development milestones include the ability to learn and understand language, gross motor skills like walking and crawling, fine motor skills such as using a spoon and the ability to interact with others.

The research found that these delays occur early in the course of treatment, suggesting that it may be beneficial to consider physical or language therapy.

"We've demonstrated that the impact of the disease and its treatment can appear early on," said Dr Diane L Putnick from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development.

"It suggests that the earlier health care providers start addressing these concerns, the better."

She said that children and infants that find language difficult, for instance, may become frustrated and stop trying, making early therapy intervention more important.

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