The development of curative therapy for most pediatric malignancies has produced a growing population of childhood cancer survivors who are at increased risk for a variety of health problems resulting from their cancer or its treatment. Because of the fact that many treatment-related sequelae may not become clinically apparent until the survivor attains maturity or begins to age, the ability of primary care providers to anticipate late effects of treatment is essential for providing timely interventions that prevent or correct these sequelae and their adverse effects on quality of life. Altered bone metabolism during treatment for childhood cancer may interfere with attainment of peak bone mass, potentially predisposing to premature onset of and more severe complications related to osteopenia and osteoporosis. Bone mineral deficits have been reported after treatment for a variety of pediatric malignancies and represent morbidity that can be reduced or prevented through lifestyle changes and attention to other common cancer-related sequelae such as hypogonadism. The Children's Oncology Group long-term follow-up guidelines for survivors of childhood, adolescent, and young adult cancers provide risk-based surveillance recommendations that are based on expert opinion and review of the scientific literature for potential late effects of pediatric cancer therapy including osteopenia. This review summarizes the existing literature that has defined characteristics of cancer survivors at risk for bone mineral deficits and contributed to the surveillance and counseling recommendations outlined in the Children's Oncology group long-term follow-up guidelines.

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