The study found that only 10.9 percent of adult survivors reported fair or poor health, even though 43.6 percent reported some sort of impairment linked to childhood cancer or its treatment. Factors associated with reporting at least one health-related problem were the same as those in the general population: being female, having no more than a high school education and having an annual income of less than $20,000.
The results were based on health assessments of 9,535 adult participants of the CCSS, a consortium of survivors treated at 25 pediatric cancer centers across the United States and Canada. The investigators studied six specific aspects of health: general health; mental health; functional status (ability to perform personal care or everyday tasks, such as eating, bathing and household chores); activity limitations (such as moving a table or bowling); cancer-related pain; and cancer-related anxieties and fears. The study compared survivor health to that of 2,916 randomly selected siblings of the survivors. None of the siblings were childhood cancer survivors. The multi-center investigation was undertaken to evaluate the late physical and psychological health effects of treatment for childhood cancer.
"Childhood cancer and its treatment have a significant potential long-term impact on the physical and psychological health of the survivor," said Melissa M. Hudson, M.D., a member of the St. Jude Hematology-Oncology program and director of the After Completio
Contact: Bonnie Cameron
St. Jude Children's Research Hospital