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Survivors of Childhood Cancer Less Healthy as Adults

Patients successfully treated for childhood cancers may experience limitations later

TUESDAY, May 25 (HealthDay News) -- Adult survivors of childhood cancers appear to suffer worse health outcomes and more job limitations than people who never had cancer, according to research published online May 24 in Cancer.

Emily Dowling, of the National Cancer Institute in Bethesda, Md., and colleagues analyzed the burden, general health, and lost productivity of 410 adult survivors of childhood cancer and 294,641 individuals without cancer.

The researchers found that the survivors were more likely than those without cancer to report their health status as fair or poor (24.3 versus 10.9 percent), to be unable to work due to health problems (20.9 versus 6.3 percent), to have any sort of health limitation (12.9 versus 3.4 percent), and to be limited by their health in the type or amount of work they can do (30.9 versus 10.6 percent); all differences were statistically significant. The cancer survivors faced their greatest limitations in the first four years after diagnosis and 30 or more years after diagnosis.

"Given the increasing number of adult survivors of childhood cancers, it is important for this population to receive risk-based health care and for physicians to be aware of the risks for this population for decades after diagnosis," the authors write.

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