A significant number of young survivors of childhood cancers smoke, are physically inactive and/or don’t use sunscreen, according to researchers at Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center. While these behaviors can be a future cancer risk to adolescents who have not had cancer, they can pose special peril to those who have been treated for the disease, investigators say.
Their study, published recently in Pediatric Blood & Cancer, samples 75 adolescent cancer survivors whose average age was 14, and found 28 percent reported one of the three risk factors, 12 percent reported two of the three, and 7 percent reported all three. This is among the first studies to look at multiple behavioral risk factors among adolescent cancer survivors.
“Our findings suggest that young survivors need ongoing assistance in dealing with these issues--much as do all children,” said the lead author, Kenneth Tercyak, assistant professor of oncology and pediatrics. “The key difference here is that we believe these survivors are an especially vulnerable population and any lifestyle risk they take may increase their chance of cancer recurrence and/or the onset of chronic disease in adulthood.”
Some of these youths may be especially “stress prone,” and thus more likely to have difficulty protecting their health, Tercyak said. “We have looked within a group of survivors to better understand what might lead some survivors toward risky behaviors, and have found that older children and those with more personal and family stress appear to be at greatest risk,” he said.
The research was conducted through the SHARE (Survivor Health and Resilience Education) Program, a health counseling program offered in cooperation with the Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center. Through the SHARE Program, survivors of childhood cancer received information and counseling about eating healthy, exercising, living well, and other tips to stay healthy. This research was funded by the Lance Armstrong Foundation.
Cancer survivors are at increased risk for developing cancer for specific reasons, researchers say. For example, skin and lung cancer risk increases if a patient has been treated with radiation as part of treatment, and certain treatments, such as chemotherapy, can weaken lungs, making them more susceptible to future disease.
Young cancer patients are strongly encouraged to follow a healthy lifestyle “in an effort to possibly manage their disease recurrence risk and to help them to continue to lead healthy lives,” Tercyak said. “Their primary disease may be cured, but they remain at increased health risk.”
To find out if these healthy lifestyles were being followed, the researchers surveyed patients between ages 11-21, who were one or more years from treatment and were cancer-free for one or more years. More than one-half of respondents were girls that had been treated for leukemia, and most were white, living in dual parent households in areas with upper middle class incomes, reportedly earning As and Bs in school.
The researchers found that 15 percent of the patients had a history of cigarette use, 20 percent engaged in insufficient physical activity, and 37 percent did not use sun protection as recommended. Patients with these behavioral risk factors tended to be older, had greater symptoms of stress, and reported greater family discord.
These results suggest that because stress may mediate or moderate the health promotion behaviors in this special population, interventions to address personal and family stress levels are warranted, Tercyak said.
Collaborators on the study included Aziza Shad, director of pediatric hematology and oncology at Lombardi and founder of Lombardi’s Late Effects Clinic for Cancer Survivors and Revonda Mosher of Children's National Medical Center.
About Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center
The Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center, part of Georgetown University Medical Center and Georgetown University Hospital, seeks to improve the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of cancer through innovative basic and clinical research, patient care, community education and outreach, and the training of cancer specialists of the future. Lombardi is one of only 39 comprehensive cancer centers in the nation, as designated by the National Cancer Institute, and the only one in the Washington, DC, area. For more information, go to http://lombardi.georgetown.edu.
Becky Wexler | EurekAlert!
Hot cars can hit deadly temperatures in as little as one hour
24.05.2018 | Arizona State University
3D images of cancer cells in the body: Medical physicists from Halle present new method
16.05.2018 | Martin-Luther-Universität Halle-Wittenberg
A research team led by physicists at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) has developed molecular nanoswitches that can be toggled between two structurally different states using an applied voltage. They can serve as the basis for a pioneering class of devices that could replace silicon-based components with organic molecules.
The development of new electronic technologies drives the incessant reduction of functional component sizes. In the context of an international collaborative...
At the LASYS 2018, from June 5th to 7th, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) will be showcasing processes for the laser material processing of tomorrow in hall 4 at stand 4E75. With blown bomb shells the LZH will present first results of a research project on civil security.
At this year's LASYS, the LZH will exhibit light-based processes such as cutting, welding, ablation and structuring as well as additive manufacturing for...
There are videos on the internet that can make one marvel at technology. For example, a smartphone is casually bent around the arm or a thin-film display is rolled in all directions and with almost every diameter. From the user's point of view, this looks fantastic. From a professional point of view, however, the question arises: Is that already possible?
At Display Week 2018, scientists from the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Polymer Research IAP will be demonstrating today’s technological possibilities and...
So-called quantum many-body scars allow quantum systems to stay out of equilibrium much longer, explaining experiment | Study published in Nature Physics
Recently, researchers from Harvard and MIT succeeded in trapping a record 53 atoms and individually controlling their quantum state, realizing what is called a...
The historic first detection of gravitational waves from colliding black holes far outside our galaxy opened a new window to understanding the universe. A...
02.05.2018 | Event News
13.04.2018 | Event News
12.04.2018 | Event News
25.05.2018 | Life Sciences
25.05.2018 | Interdisciplinary Research
24.05.2018 | Ecology, The Environment and Conservation