Childhood cancer survivors at great risk of heart problems


SURVIVORS of childhood cancer are at great risk of heart problems in adulthood, new study found. According to a European Society Of Cardiology-led study, such survivors of are at increased risk of suffering prematurely from cardiovascular disease in adulthood.
To investigate the long-term health of childhood cancer survivors, by means of systematic and comprehensive clinical evaluation of their health in comparison to the general population, researchers in Germany found that as adults these people were at increased risk of having high blood pressure and dyslipidaemia (abnormal, usually high, levels of cholesterol and other fats in the blood).
These conditions occurred six and eight years earlier respectively when compared with the general population. In addition, childhood cancer survivors had a nearly two-fold increased risk of cardiovascular diseases such as congestive heart failure and venous thromboembolism.
Cardiovascular disease was found in 4.5 percent of survivors and occurred in the majority before they reached the age of 40, nearly eight years earlier than in the general population.
Between October 2013 and February 2016, a total of 951 adult long-term survivors of childhood cancer, underwent a clinical examination that included assessing factors that might put them at higher risk of cardiovascular diseases, such as high blood pressure and dyslipidaemia.
The researchers also checked their medical history, whether or not they smoked and whether there was any family history of cardiovascular disease. Their ages ranged from 23 to 48 at the time of this follow-up.
The results were compared with over 15,000 people selected from the general population. Researcher Joerg Faber said in the study published in the European Heart Journal, “Our results show that these survivors of childhood cancer have a substantially elevated burden of prematurely occurring traditional cardiovascular risk factors and cardiovascular diseases”.
“We found that a remarkable number attended their clinical examination for this study with previously unidentified cardiovascular risk factors and cardiovascular disease. For example, only 62 out of 269 were aware of having dyslipidaemia. Consequently, 207, approximately 80 percent, were only diagnosed at that point. This applies to high blood pressure in the arteries as well.”

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