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Childhood cancer survivors are at increased risk for ongoing post-therapy GI complications
Date:5/4/2011

Patients who received therapy for cancer during childhood have an increased risk of developing gastrointestinal (GI) complications later in life, according to a new study in Gastroenterology, the official journal of the American Gastroenterological Association (AGA) Institute. Compared with their siblings, cancer survivors had an increased risk of late-onset complications of the upper GI tract, lower GI tract and liver.

"Survivors are at elevated risk for ongoing gastrointestinal complications after therapy," said Robert Goldsby, MD, of the University of California, San Francisco Children's Hospital and lead author of the study. "Because these gastrointestinal complications may impact quality of life, health-care providers should be aware of potential gastrointestinal problems in this population as they evaluate acute symptoms and plan ongoing follow-up care."

As more children diagnosed with cancer are surviving long-term, it is increasingly important to recognize the long-term consequences of their cancer and its therapy. This analysis shows that survivors of childhood cancer have a higher incidence of self-reported GI complaints compared with their siblings. Risks for colostomy/ileostomy, cirrhosis or liver biopsy were highest. Older age at diagnosis, exposure to abdominal radiation and certain chemotherapy treatments increase that risk. More than 40 percent of childhood cancer survivors reported a late GI complication by 20 years after cancer therapy. The probability of experiencing a late GI consequence was greater in survivors compared to siblings. The survivor's prior experience may increase their sensitivity to GI-related symptoms, but cancer treatments may cause direct damage to the GI organ system.

"The risks of late GI complications may change as therapy for childhood and adolescent cancer continues to evolve and will require studies of more recently treated patients," added Dr. Goldsby. Although various disease-spec
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Contact: Alissa J. Cruz
media@gastro.org
301-272-1603
American Gastroenterological Association
Source:Eurekalert

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