Cancer treatments — including chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and surgery — can sometimes cause headaches, difficulty walking, seizures, or issues with thinking and problem solving (“cognitive function”). Pediatric neurologists on the MSK Kids team understand that your child’s developing nervous system requires special care during treatment.
Along with your child’s primary cancer care team, we can monitor your child during treatment and assess nervous system function using the most advanced neurologic tests. Together we work to reduce the effects of cancer therapies on your child’s brain, spine, and nerves. In addition, we work closely with rehabilitation specialists at Memorial Sloan Kettering, including physical, occupational, and speech therapists. Our shared goal is to preserve nervous system function and thinking abilities, so your child can easily resume everyday activities after completing therapy.
The pediatric neurologists on the MSK Kids team have particular expertise caring for patients with:
- Cancers being treated with novel therapies — such as CAR T-cell treatment, radioimmunotherapy (like 3F8), and other targeted therapies — which have very unique neurologic side effects.
- Paraneoplastic syndromes (such as opsoclonus-myoclonus syndrome) caused by complications of cancer, which may impair walking, talking, and eye movements.
- Inherited metabolic disorders — such as leukodystrophies and lysosomal storage disorders — which are caused by the loss of a vital enzyme or a defect in an important protein in the body, through the Metabolic Cell and Gene Therapy Program at MSK Kids.
- Neurocutaneous melanocytosis (NCM), which is sometimes seen in children with large birth marks. NCM can cause seizures, developmental delays, and melanoma of the brain and spine. MSK Kids is building a registry containing health information from people of all ages with NCM to learn more about the disease and how to improve treatment. To join the registry or refer a patient, please call 833-MSK-KIDS
- Cerebellar mutism (also called posterior fossa syndrome), which can affect children who have had surgery for a brain tumor called medulloblastoma. Cerebellar mutism can impair walking, speech, chewing, and swallowing.