This paper aims to synthesize literature about the definition, prevalence, onset and treatments associated with late effects. A rapid review was conducted using Google Scholar to identify reviews related to the late effects of adult-onset cancers. Papers were included if they provided a definition of late effects and/or presented a review of late effects as a result of adult-onset cancers in patients aged 18 years or older. Reviews related to nonmelanoma skin cancer were excluded. Reviews focusing on late effects in survivors of childhood-onset cancers (younger than 18 years) were ineligible for inclusion in the review. A total of 16 reviews were identified. Between 0% and 100% of survivors experienced a range of physical, psychological and social late effects. The onset of physical late effects was defined broadly as 'months or years' after treatment, whereas psychological late effects were defined as occurring at the end of treatment or similarly to physical late effects as 'months or years' after treatment. Few reviews provided an operational definition of late effects, and the onset of late effects was not often reported. Thus, reviews may have included the acute and long-term effects of cancer treatment. Evidence regarding causes, prevalence, and onset was incomplete for many late effects. Understanding the cause and onset of late effects is important in order to provide timely interventions to reduce the risk of late effect development in cancer patients.