Many Childhood Cancer Survivors Not Concerned About Future Health

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Even among those exposed to high radiation doses, one-third not concerned about developing cancer.
Even among those exposed to high radiation doses, one-third not concerned about developing cancer.

(HealthDay News) -- A substantial number of adult childhood cancer survivors are unconcerned about their future health and subsequent cancer risks, according to a study published online in Cancer.

Todd M. Gibson, PhD, from St. Jude Children's Research Hospital in Memphis, Tenn., and colleagues compared levels of self-reported concern about future health and subsequent cancer in 15,620 adult survivors of childhood cancer (median age, 26 years; median time since diagnosis, 17 years) and 3991 siblings participating in the Childhood Cancer Survivor Study.

The researchers found that 31% of survivors were not concerned about their future health and that 40% were not concerned about developing cancer. The prevalence of concern for future health was modestly higher in survivors than siblings (relative risk [RR], 1.12; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.09 to 1.15), and the prevalence of concern for subsequent cancer was similar (RR, 1.02; 95% CI, 0.99 to 1.05). Among survivors exposed to high doses of radiation (≥20 Gy), concern for future health was higher (RR, 1.13; 95% CI, 1.09 to 1.16), as was concern for subsequent cancer (RR, 1.14; 95% CI, 1.1 to 1.18). However, 35% of these high-risk survivors were not concerned about developing cancer and 24% were not concerned about their future health.

"These survivors may be less likely to engage in beneficial screening and risk-reduction activities," the authors write.

Reference

Gibson TM, Li C, Armstrong GT, et al. Perceptions of future health and cancer risk in adult survivors of childhood cancer: A report from the Childhood Cancer Survivor Study. Canc. DOI-10.1002/cncr.31397

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