For 80% of childhood cancer survivors, serious health risks follow: study – GLOBAL

March 11, 2024

By age 45, more than 80 per cent of childhood cancer survivors will grapple with serious or life-threatening effects stemming from their treatments. These repercussions range from heart disease to colorectal and breast cancer, according to a recent Canadian study.

The study, published Monday in the Canadian Medical Association Journal (CMAJ), found that adult survivors of childhood cancer are at elevated risk of sickness and death compared to the general population.

The risk of colorectal cancer is two to three times higher than for the general population. Additionally, females who received chest radiation therapy during childhood have a breast cancer risk similar to individuals with a genetic mutation predisposing them to the disease.

“I think people believe that you treat a child with cancer, you cure them, and then it’s fantastic and that we move on,” said Dr. Paul Nathan, co-author of the study and an oncologist in the division of haematology and oncology at SickKids in Toronto.

“But the problem is we cure them with pretty heavy chemotherapy or radiation or surgery or transplants, often a combination that has long-term problems as a consequence,” he told Global News.

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