Patients who successfully battled cancer during childhood face an
extraordinarily high rate of chronic illness during their grown-up years,
according to the study published.
The research released by the Journal of the American Medical Association
(JAMA) tracked 1 700 adult survivors of childhood cancer, and found that the
vast majority were combating one or more chronic ailments.
"The percentage of survivors with one or more chronic health conditions
prevalent in a young adult population was extraordinarily high," said lead
researcher Melissa Hudson and her colleagues at St Jude Children's Research
Hospital and the University of Tennessee College of Medicine, Memphis.
The study found that 80.5% of adults were suffering with at least one chronic
ailment by the age of 45.
The subjects in the study were most likely to suffer from ailments to the
lungs, heart, auditory, nervous or endocrine systems.
The research found that there is "a growing population of adults formerly
treated for childhood cancer who are at risk for health problems that appear to
increase with ageing."
The scientists called for additional research, noting that "the prevalence of
cancer-related toxic effects has not been well studied."
Hudson and her colleagues said life-long monitoring is in order for those
stricken with cancer in childhood.
"These data underscore the need for clinically focused monitoring, both for
conditions that have significant morbidity if not detected and treated early -
such as second malignancies and heart disease - and also for those that if
remediated can improve quality of life, such as hearing loss and vision
deficits," the researchers said.