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!
Penn studies find promise for innovations in liquid biopsies
30.03.2017 | University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine
'On-off switch' brings researchers a step closer to potential HIV vaccine
30.03.2017 | University of Nebraska-Lincoln
The Institute of Semiconductor Technology and the Institute of Physical and Theoretical Chemistry, both members of the Laboratory for Emerging Nanometrology (LENA), at Technische Universität Braunschweig are partners in a new European research project entitled ChipScope, which aims to develop a completely new and extremely small optical microscope capable of observing the interior of living cells in real time. A consortium of 7 partners from 5 countries will tackle this issue with very ambitious objectives during a four-year research program.
To demonstrate the usefulness of this new scientific tool, at the end of the project the developed chip-sized microscope will be used to observe in real-time...
Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.
The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.
Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...
Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.
Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...
In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...
Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.
Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...
20.03.2017 | Event News
14.03.2017 | Event News
07.03.2017 | Event News
30.03.2017 | Health and Medicine
30.03.2017 | Health and Medicine
30.03.2017 | Medical Engineering