Tags: child | cancer | radiation

Irradiation Treatments Pose Risks to Kids

Thursday, 23 August 2012 10:07 AM

Children with cancer who receive total body irradiation as a necessary part of their therapy during bone marrow transplants may suffer health problems later in life, new research shows.
The University of Colorado Cancer Center study, published in the journal Pediatric Blood & Cancer, noted such treatments are key to the survival of young cancer patients. But when TBI is administered before the age of 3 years, it also raises the long-term risk of developing endocrine, metabolic and other health complications.
"These kids basically lie on a table and truly do get radiation from head to toe,” said Dr. Jean Mulcahy-Levy, a research fellow at the CU Cancer Center who led the study. “There is a little blocking of the lungs, but nothing of, for example, the brain or the kidneys."
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The study is based on an evaluation of 15 patients who received TBI before age 3. The results showed many developed endocrine and metabolic problems including testicular malfunction later in life (78 percent), restrictive pulmonary disease due to high levels of blood triglycerides (74 percent), and cataracts (78 percent). In addition, 90 percent showed abnormally low levels of growth hormone, 71 percent were considerably under height, 75 percent had cognitive declines and many experiences kidney, liver, skeletal and heart problems.
The study supports the recommendations of the Children's Oncology Group that child-cancer survivors receive long-term follow-up care.
"It's not so much that you want to stop TBI, which is frequently a necessary part of treatment, but this study shows it's important know about these problems in order to address them appropriately and proactively," Mulcahy-Levy said.
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Children treated with radiation for cancer may suffer health problems later in life.
Thursday, 23 August 2012 10:07 AM
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