Heart risks lower for some childhood cancer survivors, but work remains

Published: Jan. 16, 2020 at 10:23 PM CST
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A new study shows fewer childhood cancer survivors are experiencing serious heart conditions, but it doesn't erase the concerns and work remains.

The Childhood Cancer Survivor Study following more than 23,000 children for 20 years. Findings published this week in the

found risk of coronary artery disease fell steadily from the 1970s to the 1990s.

The study notes radiation exposure over that time fell from 77 percent to 40 percent. Also, survivors of hodgkin lymphoma accounted for most of the decline.

It also found one exception in neuroblastoma survivors. They actually had greater risk of heart failure. Researchers say it could be because treatments for their condition intensified in the 1980s and 1990s.

Results show efforts to modify cancer therapies in children, and monitor their health are working, but it still remains a significant issue for cancer patients of all ages.

In fact, Cotton O'Neil Cancer Center and Kansas State University's Clinical Integrated Physiology Lab have partnered for a study on links between a certain chemotherapy and future heart disease risk in adults.

Up to half of cancer survivors develop some degree of heart trouble within 20 years of treatment. The study is enrolling patients undergoing 5-FU chemotherapy, along with healthy adults for a matched control group.

The study involves a one-time commitment of 60 to 90 minutes. Those interested may contact Sonjia Clay, RN, at 785-270-4939, or email