Children who survive brain cancer struggle for years with the malevolent echo of the disease and its treatment, according to a new study from the Stanford University School of Medicine and Lucile Packard Childrens Hospital. Nearly one-third of former brain tumor patients require special education services, and many suffer from chronic headaches, nausea and seizures. Only about half of those old enough to drive do so.
Those who received radiation to cure their cancers fared worse than those who had only surgery. Adding chemotherapy to radiation, a common therapeutic strategy, didnt worsen the outcome. The finding, published in the Aug. 20 issue of the Journal of Clinical Oncology, lends credence to an ongoing Stanford/Packard study in which lower doses of radiation are supplemented by additional rounds of chemotherapy to help reduce the cognitive and emotional problems that are the side effect of successful treatment.
"Weve been very focused on curing brain cancer, which we now do in about 68 percent of the kids," said pediatric neurologist Paul Fisher, MD. "Now were asking, OK, but what are the kids like? Were curing them, but at what cost?"
Krista Conger | EurekAlert!
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