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Childhood Cancer Survivors Face Increased Mortality Risks

Eternal vigilance is the key to successful management

THURSDAY, Sept. 25 (HealthDay News) -- Children and adolescent cancer survivors may continue to face the risk of increased morbidity and mortality due to recurrence of their original cancer, researchers report in the Oct. 1 issue of the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

Ann C. Mertens, Ph.D., of Emory University in Atlanta, and colleagues studied a cohort of 20,483 eligible five-year survivors of childhood and adolescent cancer in the Childhood Cancer Survivor Study obtained from the National Death Index, for trends and factors underlying increased risk of mortality.

The findings reveal that compared with the U.S. population, the absolute excess risk of death from any cause was 7.36 deaths per 1,000 person-years. Recurrence accounted for 57.5 percent of deaths among all childhood cancer survivors, the researchers report. Males had a higher rate of death due to recurrences, they note. The five-year survivors of certain leukemia (non-acute lymphoblastic leukemia, non-acute myeloid leukemia), medulloblastoma or primitive neuroectodermal tumor, other central nervous system malignancy (non-astrocytoma), and Ewing sarcoma had the highest standardized mortality ratio (SMR). The overall SMR was 8.4.

"Through ongoing surveillance of these survivors, we will be able to clarify the magnitude and components of this elevated risk and ascertain additional emerging patterns of late-occurring mortality," the authors conclude.

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