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Childhood Leukemia Survivors Struggle With Long-Term Comorbidities
Date:3/31/2008

ors. For example, the cumulative incidence of severe, life-threatening chronic conditions was 23 percent for RT survivors, compared with just 13 percent for non-RT survivors.

Survivors' social and economic outcomes, including rates of marriage, college graduation, and health insurance coverage, were also significantly lower than those of their siblings. Both female and male survivors were more likely to be unemployed than their siblings, though only in the females were the differences statistically significant. Most socioeconomic factors were not affected by relapse status, with the exception of male employment rates. However, RT seemed to affect these outcomes, as female RT survivors reported significantly lower rates of marriage, college graduation, and health insurance coverage than non-RT female survivors. Male RT survivors also reported lower rates of education attainment compared with non-RT survivors.

"Our findings suggest that the vast majority of the children with ALL who survive five years from the time of diagnosis are likely to be long-term survivors. Survivors treated without radiation therapy who did not relapse appear to have health outcomes and quality of life similar to the general population. However, survivors who have suffered a relapse of the disease or who have been treated with radiation therapy continue to fight with excess comorbidities and poor socioeconomic outcomes for many years following therapy, and it is important that we educate the patients, families, and their physicians about these long-term issues," said Dr. Mody. "As therapeutic interventions improve and more children beat leukemia, it's important to work toward not only higher survival rates, but also improved overall wellness."

The American Society of Hematology (http://www.hematology.org) is the world's largest professional society concerned with the causes and treatment of blood disorders. Its
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SOURCE American Society of Hematology
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