ASCO: Childhood Cancer Survivors Face Heart Risks

May 26, 2008

Survivors of childhood and adolescent cancer are up to 10 times as likely as their healthy siblings to develop heart disease in early adulthood, according to an early release on research to be presented May 30-June 3 at the annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology in Chicago.

MONDAY, May 26 (HealthDay News) -- Survivors of childhood and adolescent cancer are up to 10 times as likely as their healthy siblings to develop heart disease in early adulthood, according to an early release on research to be presented May 30-June 3 at the annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology in Chicago.

Daniel A. Mulrooney, M.D., of the Masonic Cancer Center at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, and colleagues compared self-reported heart disease among 14,358 survivors of childhood cancer -- including leukemia, central nervous system tumors, Hodgkin's or non-Hodgkin's lymphomas, renal tumors, neuroblastoma, soft-tissue sarcomas or bone cancers -- who were originally diagnosed between 1970 and 1986, and 3,899 of their healthy siblings.

The researchers found that cancer survivors were significantly more likely than their siblings to report atherosclerosis (relative risk, 10.2), congestive heart failure (RR, 5.7), pericardial disease (RR, 6.3), myocardial infarction (RR, 4.9) and valvular disease (RR, 4.8). They also found that survivors who underwent treatment with anthracycline drugs or radiation therapy to the heart were two to five times as likely to report any of these forms of heart disease as survivors who did not undergo such treatments.

"This study shows that childhood cancer survivors in their 20s are developing the kinds of heart disease we typically see in older adults," Mulrooney said in a statement. "Our findings emphasize the need to educate patients, their families and other health care providers about the risk of delayed cardiovascular side effects of these otherwise life-saving cancer treatments, so that patients can be closely monitored after their treatment and appropriately followed as they age."

Abstract

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