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Adult survivors of childhood cancer face long-term health problems, says co-author of national study

Children with cancer currently have survival rates approaching 80 percent a much better rate than adults diagnosed with the disease today, and a major improvement over survival chances for children diagnosed 20 and 30 years ago. But survivors of childhood cancer may face long-term health problems well into adulthood, as reported today in a large multicenter study of over 10,000 adults who survived a childhood battle with cancer.

One of the co-authors of the Childhood Cancer Survivor Study is a long-standing pioneer in the field. Anna T. Meadows, M.D., and colleagues at The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia were the first researchers to investigate the late effects of childhood cancer, starting in the mid-1970s. An oncologist, Dr. Meadows is the medical director of the Cancer Survivorship Program at Children's Hospital.

Dr. Meadows serves on the steering committee of the Childhood Cancer Survivor Study (CCSS), which published the research, the largest-ever study of adult survivors of childhood cancer in the Oct. 12 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine. Sponsored by the National Cancer Institute, the collaborative study drew on researchers from more than two dozen cancer centers throughout the U.S. and Canada.

In comparing more than 10,000 adult survivors of pediatric cancer to approximately 3,000 of their siblings, the researchers found survivors to be more than three times as likely to have chronic health condition, and more than eight times as likely to have a severe or life-threatening condition. The incidence of these chronic conditions increased over time and did not appear to level off over the time span that was studied.

The long-term survivors, first diagnosed with cancer between 1970 and 1986, were particularly vulnerable to second cancers, heart conditions, kidney disease, severe musculoskeletal problems and endocrine abnormalities such as thyroid disease, osteoporosis and sterility. Female survivors wer
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Contact: Rachel Salis-Silverman
Salis@email.chop.edu
267-426-6063
Children's Hospital of Philadelphia
11-Oct-2006


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