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Adult survivors of childhood leukemia exercise less, worsening high risk for obesity and illness

PHILADELPHIA -- Overcoming pediatric cancer may only mark the beginning of a young survivors lifelong battle to stay healthy. While survivors of childhood acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) face an increased risk of developing serious health complications as a result of their cancer treatment, for a variety of reasons many avoid simple exercise and healthy lifestyle changes that could reverse the damage, according to a team of researchers based at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center.

Adult survivors of childhood ALL are less physically active than the general U.S. population, the team reports in the July issue of Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers, & Prevention, a journal of the American Association for Cancer Research. Furthermore, adult survivors of ALL who received cranial radiotherapy (CRT), or whole brain radiation, as children reported the lowest activity among all adults, suggesting that the type of therapy administered to a child may impair his or her physical activity in the future.

To protect adult childhood cancer survivors from a future of disease, researchers say patients should work with health care providers to develop plans for healthier and more active lifestyles.

Research shows that physical activity can undo risk caused by treatment, said senior author Kevin C. Oeffinger, M.D., from Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, New York, N.Y. Small, incremental steps can make a big difference in improving health outcomes.

Dr. Oeffinger and his colleagues compared the physical activity levels of over 2,600 adult survivors of ALL, ages 18 to 44, as reported by patients in the Childhood Cancer Survivor Study (CCSS) in 2003, to physical activity of age-matched adults in the general U.S. population, as reported in the 2003 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) survey. The CCSS is a multi-institution study sponsored by the National Cancer Institutes, and the BRFSS is a state-based survey conducted by
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Contact: Greg Lester
lester@aacr.org
267-646-0554
American Association for Cancer Research
23-Jul-2007


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