Cancer Survival in Childhood and Risks of Heart Disease in Later Years are Related

In the United States, nearly 14 children out of every 100,000, get affected with Cancer every year. 70% of them get cured. But according to latest research study (dated December 2009), childhood survivors of Cancer are prone to heart disease in their later years of life. This article tries to gain further insight.

The research study is considered to be the largest of its kind on this topic. The results of this study are published in the British Medical Journal website. Some of the key findings of this study are:

  • Childhood Cancer can affect the life of the survivors in their young age.
  • The list of heart disease risks includes heart failure, heart attack, abnormalities in the valve of the heart, inflammation or swelling of the heart.
  • Most common techniques of Cancer treatment are Chemotherapy, Radiation therapy and surgery. Each of these techniques have unavoidable side effects to deal with. The risks of heart disease are associated with these treatment techniques of Cancer.
  • The threat of these heart disease risks can lasts up to 30 years from the time these treatment techniques of Cancer were applied on the patient.

What the Research Study Involved: The results of the study are based on data collected on 14,358 childhood Cancer survivors below the age of 21. The study started with diagnosing Cancer in these participants between the years 1970 to 1986. These participants had one of the following types of cancer: blood cancer, bone cancer, kidney cancer, brain cancer, neuroblastoma, soft tissue sarcoma, Hodgkin’s lymphoma and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Either the patients or their parents were given a questionnaire to complete. It asked questions related to the health state and medical or surgical procedures followed to treat cancer.

The researchers are worried about the fact that by the time these young people overcome the threat of these risks, they enter in to the general age group prone to heart diseases. It means that childhood survivors of Cancer are prone to heart diseases for the rest of their life. This calls for awareness and regular check up for heart. Generally it is advised to undergo a check up of the heart after every 5 years once the age of 40 is passed. But in the case of the Cancer survivors in childhood, these checks up should be done on yearly basis.

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