Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Health gap between adult survivors of childhood cancer, siblings widens with age

Date:
March 17, 2014
Source:
St. Jude Children's Research Hospital
Summary:
Adult survivors of childhood cancer face significant health problems as they age and are five times more likely than their siblings to develop new cancers, heart and other serious health conditions beyond the age of 35, according to the latest findings from the world’s largest study of childhood cancer survivors.

Adult survivors of childhood cancer face significant health problems as they age and are five times more likely than their siblings to develop new cancers, heart and other serious health conditions beyond the age of 35, according to the latest findings from the world's largest study of childhood cancer survivors. St. Jude Children's Research Hospital led the research, results of which appear in the March 17 issue of the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

The federally funded Childhood Cancer Survivor Study (CCSS) found that the health gap between survivors and their siblings widens with age. Survivors who were 20 to 34 years old were 3.8 times more likely than siblings of the same age to have experienced severe, disabling, life-threatening or fatal health conditions. By age 35 and beyond, however, survivors were at five-fold greater risk.

By age 50, more than half of childhood cancer survivors had experienced a life-altering health problem, compared to less than 20 percent of same-aged siblings. More than 22 percent of survivors had at least two serious health problems and about 10 percent reported three or more. The problems included new cancers as well as diseases of the heart, lungs, liver, kidneys and hormones.

"Survivors remain at risk for serious health problems into their 40s and 50s, decades after they have completed treatment for childhood cancer," said first and corresponding author Gregory Armstrong, M.D., an associate member of the St. Jude Department of Epidemiology and Cancer Control. "In fact, for survivors, the risk of illness and death increases significantly beyond the age of 35. Their siblings don't share these same risks."

Among survivors who reached age 35 without serious health problems, 25.9 percent developed a significant health problem in the next decade. In comparison, 6 percent of siblings developed their first serious health condition between the ages of 35 and 45.

The study involved 14,359 adult survivors who were treated for a variety of pediatric cancers at one of 26 U.S. and Canadian medical centers. The research also included 4,301 siblings. For this study CCSS investigators focused on 5,604 survivors who have now aged beyond 35 years. The results provide the broadest snapshot yet of how the first generation of childhood cancer survivors is faring as they age. The oldest survivors in this study were in their 50s.

The findings highlight the importance of lifelong, risk-based health care for childhood cancer survivors, Armstrong said. Depending on their cancer treatment and other risk factors, follow-up care may include mammograms and other health checks at a younger age than is recommended for the general public.

These screenings are designed to identify health problems early when there is a greater chance to prevent illness and preserve health.

Today, St. Jude researchers are studying strategies to educate and empower survivors to ensure they receive recommended screenings. Screening guidelines were developed by St. Jude and other members of the Children's Oncology Group (COG), which includes pediatric cancer researchers and institutions around the world.

The importance of such efforts is expected to grow along with the nation's population of childhood cancer survivors. The U.S. is now home to more than 363,000 pediatric cancer survivors. An overall long-term pediatric cancer survival rate of 80 percent means the number of survivors will increase.

The study also adds to evidence that some survivors experience accelerated aging, possibly due to their cancer treatment. Researchers are still trying to identify the cause. In this study, 24-year-old childhood cancer survivors and their 50-year-old siblings reported similar rates of severe, life-threatening or fatal health problems.

This study involved survivors whose cancer was diagnosed between 1970 and 1986 when they were age 20 or younger. All survived at least five years. Since then, cancer therapies have evolved and include less radiation and chemotherapy, both of which can have long-term health consequences. The CCSS is also studying the health of adult survivors from a more recent treatment era.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Gregory T. Armstrong, Toana Kawashima, Wendy Leisenring, Kayla Stratton, Marilyn Stovall, Melissa M. Hudson, Charles A. Sklar, Leslie L Robison, and Kevin C. Oeffinger. Aging and Risk of Severe, Disabling, Life-Threatening, and Fatal Events in the Childhood Cancer Survivor Study. Journal of Clinical Oncology, March 2014 DOI: 10.1200/JCO.2013.51.1055

Cite This Page:

St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. "Health gap between adult survivors of childhood cancer, siblings widens with age." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 17 March 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/03/140317170644.htm>.
St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. (2014, March 17). Health gap between adult survivors of childhood cancer, siblings widens with age. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 17, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/03/140317170644.htm
St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. "Health gap between adult survivors of childhood cancer, siblings widens with age." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/03/140317170644.htm (accessed September 17, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

President To Send 3,000 Military Personnel To Fight Ebola

President To Send 3,000 Military Personnel To Fight Ebola

Newsy (Sep. 16, 2014) President Obama is expected to send 3,000 troops to West Africa as part of the effort to contain Ebola's spread. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Man Floats for 31 Hours in Gulf Waters

Man Floats for 31 Hours in Gulf Waters

AP (Sep. 16, 2014) A Texas man is lucky to be alive after he and three others floated for more than a day in the Gulf of Mexico when their boat sank during a fishing trip. (Sept. 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ivorians Abandon Monkey Pets in Fear Over Ebola Virus

Ivorians Abandon Monkey Pets in Fear Over Ebola Virus

AFP (Sep. 16, 2014) Since the arrival of Ebola in Ivory Coast, Ivorians have been abandoning their pets, particularly monkeys, in the fear that they may transmit the virus. Duration: 00:47 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Study Links Male-Pattern Baldness To Prostate Cancer

Study Links Male-Pattern Baldness To Prostate Cancer

Newsy (Sep. 16, 2014) New findings suggest men with a certain type of baldness at age 45 are 39 percent more likely to develop aggressive prostate cancer. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

    Environment News

      Technology News



      Save/Print:
      Share:

      Free Subscriptions


      Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

      Get Social & Mobile


      Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

      Have Feedback?


      Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
      Mobile: iPhone Android Web
      Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
      Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
      Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins