Childhood Cancer Survivors at Risk of Adult Health Problems

Childhood Cancer
Childhood Cancer

In 2003, the U.S. Institute of Medicine released a report on the special challenges faced by childhood cancer survivors after they entered their adult years. While citing a remarkable 78% improvement in survival rates since 1970, the report noted that, “More than two-thirds of childhood cancer survivors will face complications, disabilities or adverse outcomes directly related to their cancer, its treatment or both.”

As we’ve been discussing in social media lately, childhood cancer survivors frequently face serious medical problems and chronic illnesses during their adult years that can significantly diminish their quality of life and even decrease their life expectancy. A new movement designed to call attention to the unique challenges faced by survivors of childhood and adolescent cancer is building steam. The Society of Adolescent and Young Adult Oncology (SAYAO) recently held its first annual meeting at the University of California at Irvine with the goal of building awareness and improving the quality of life for childhood cancer survivors.

Not long ago, we reported on a new St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital study that linked the use of chemotherapy to treat childhood cancers to the survivors’ development of chronic, life threatening diseases during their adult years. Increasing the severity of the threat, the St. Jude’s study found that 90% of the heart conditions and 55% of the lung problems that childhood cancer survivors developed went undetected until the condition had reached an advanced stage.

SAYAO is calling on the cancer community to address the long-term issues of cancer survival. Non-toxic immunotherapy treatment at an alternative cancer treatment center may offer an important avenue not only to effective initial treatment but also to improved lifelong outcomes.

WHO Predicts Worldwide Cancer Increase

Cancer Research
Cancer Research

Researchers are making progress in combating cancer, particularly in the United States and other industrialized nations where medical treatment is readily available. But in the rest of the world, cancer is on the rise, according to a new report by the World Health Organization (WHO). As developing countries adopt modern lifestyles, cancer rates are increasing. According to WHO, cancer cases worldwide could surpass 19 million by 2025.

Between 2008 and 2012, cancer diagnoses worldwide grew from 12.7 million to more than 14 million and deaths from cancer rose from 7.6 to 8.2 million. By the end of the next decade, WHO expects the number of people diagnosed with cancer to begin approaching the 20 million mark, which would be a significant jump over the current worldwide cancer growth rate.

As developing countries become more industrialized, smoking, obesity and longer life spans are contributing to an increased risk of cancer, according to a BBC News health report. Lung cancer, primarily from cigarette smoking, poses the greatest risk, accounting for 13% of total cancer cases, or about 1.8 million diagnoses, worldwide. WHO also cited a significant rise in the global number of breast cancer cases; noting that breast cancer has become the most common cancer among women in 140 countries.

“Breast cancer is also a leading cause of cancer death in the less developed countries of the world. This is partly because a shift in lifestyles is causing an increase in incidence and partly because clinical advances to combat the disease are not reaching women living in these regions,” Dr. David Forman of WHO’s International Agency for Research told BBC News.