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Survivors of childhood Hodgkin's lymphoma at higher risk of future health problems
Date:5/31/2008

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. Adults who survived childhood Hodgkins Lymphoma should be especially vigilant about cancer and cardiovascular screenings, according to researchers from Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center and colleagues.

Reporting at the annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology in Chicago today, Sharon Castellino, M.D., a pediatric oncologist, said a 26-center study of 1,927 Hodgkins survivors found that treatments for the disease are associated with increased risk of dying from a second cancer or cardiovascular disease.

The bottom-line message is that a portion of those who survive Hodgkins Lymphoma continue to have significant health needs beyond their five-year cure mark, said Castellino, an assistant professor of pediatrics at Brenner Childrens Hospital, part of Wake Forest Baptist. Survivors and their doctors need to be aware of continued risks in adulthood from treatment received more than 20 years ago.

Hodgkins Lymphoma is a growth of malignant cells in the lymph system, which is part of the immune system. The disease is one of the more curable cancers and was one of the first successes in the 1970s, said Castellino. Currently, Hodgkins Lymphoma has a 5-year survival rate of 90 percent.

The disease most commonly occurs in the chest and its treatment involves radiation therapy of the neck and upper chest and/or chemotherapy. The goal of the study was to look at factors that may increase the risk of premature death. It involved 1,927 adults who were diagnosed between 1970 and 1986 at a median age of 14 years. They were followed for a median of 23 years through the Childhood Cancer Survivor Study (CCSS).

There have been 320 deaths in the group with 30 percent due to recurrence, 26 percent to a second cancer and 19 percent to a cardiovascular event such as a heart attack or stroke.

Among males, increased risk of premature death was associated with higher doses of chem
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Contact: Rae Bush
rbush@wfubmc.edu
336-716-6878
Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center
Source:Eurekalert

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