Cisplatin is a highly effective chemotherapy medicine used in the treatment of many childhood cancers. Like all medications, cisplatin has many side effects and as always the treatment of cancer in children is a balance between the risks of the medications used and their potential benefits. While many side effects of cisplatin chemotherapy are reversible, one major side effect is permanent and irreversible hearing loss (ototoxicity) in both ears which may worsen with time. The severity of cisplatin-related ototoxicity is associated with age and the cumulative dose received: the younger the child and the higher the total dose, the more severe the hearing loss may be. The spectrum of hearing loss varies from mild to moderate high tone hearing loss, to profound loss across the hearing range and permanent deafness. In addition to hearing loss, some children, especially adolescents, also experience tinnitus and vertigo. Cisplatin ototoxicity is one of most important of the many long-term effects experienced by children who are cured of their cancer. The burden of this toxicity may be compounded by other long-term health issues that emerge with time. This chapter will focus on cisplatin-induced hearing loss, its mechanisms, its health impact on the young person and ways to mitigate or reduce the severity of ototoxicity. This chapter has been written by a multi-disciplinary team including paediatric oncologists, audiologists, a psychologist, a health scientist and a parent of a child growing up with high frequency hearing loss.
Part of the book: Hearing Loss