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Risks Remain for Childhood Cancer Survivors

Chance of developing another tumor stays high throughout life, study finds

TUESDAY, May 26, 2009 (HealthDay News) -- People who survived cancer as children face a high lifelong risk for developing another cancer, a new study has found.

A study that appears online May 26 in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute went further than earlier studies by following people from birth through age 79. The researchers analyzed data on more than 47,000 people who had been diagnosed with cancer before the age of 20.

The incidence of new cancers found by the analysis was higher than expected, the researchers said.

They found that 1,180 second primary cancers were diagnosed in 1,088 of the people who'd survived a childhood cancer. The brain was the most common site for second primary cancers.

The risk of second primary cancers was significantly higher in men than in women, the researchers reported.

"This study quantified long-term temporal patterns of increased risk of cancer at specific sites in survivors of childhood cancer," wrote Dr. Jorgen H. Olsen, of the Institute of Cancer Epidemiology, Danish Cancer Center, and colleagues. "The results may be useful in the screening and care of these individuals."

More information

The American Society of Clinical Oncology has more about childhood cancer survivors.

SOURCE: Journal of the National Cancer Institute, news release, May 26, 2009
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