Childhood cancer survivors: Good health for some, long-term complications for others

MINNEAPOLIS / ST. PAUL -- Investigators from a national collaborative effort to study survivors of childhood cancer will present results from six separate studies at the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) meeting in Orlando, Fla., May 19. Results from the Childhood Cancer Survivor Study (CCSS) have found that the majority of survivors of childhood cancer report overall general good health, but the therapies that were used to cure some survivors may put them at increased risk for long-term complications, including impaired pulmonary function, obesity, physical limitations, reduced quality of life, depression and special educational needs.

"We are pleased to find that survivors are reporting general good health," said the project's principal investigator, Les Robison, Ph.D., professor of pediatrics and associate director of the University of Minnesota Cancer Center. "Identifying potential complications that can arise from childhood cancer treatments, however, gives health professionals and survivors information that can be important to their health many years after their diagnosis and treatment."

The CCSS, funded by the National Cancer Institute, consists of investigators from 25 medical centers in the United States and Canada and is coordinated by investigators at the University of Minnesota Cancer Center. CCSS investigators gathered information from more than 14,000 study participants who were diagnosed with cancer between 1970 and 1986, before reaching the age of 21. Each participant has been recruited through one of the participating centers, where he or she was diagnosed and/or treated. The study requires that all participants must have survived at least five years from their initial cancer diagnosis. The information CCSS investigators gather is being used to develop prevention strategies and assess follow-up needs.

CCSS investigator Melissa Hudson, M.D., of St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, will present recent results

Contact: Deane Morrison
University of Minnesota

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