Child chemotherapy and heart problems

As Cancer Research launches new claims that 82 per cent of children with cancer survive 5 years, (up from 79 per cent a decade ago) the American Heart Association Scientific Sessions for 2013 has found that conventional cancer treatments severely damage children’s hearts and make them more prone to developing early heart disease.
This follows research covered in Cancer Watch three years ago showing surviving child cancer patients have higher suicide rates than the norm. National Cancer Institute (NCI) figures show that childhood cancer survivors are eight times more likely to die from cardiac-related illness and 15 times more likely to be diagnosed with congestive heart failure than their peers. The new research shows that this is not just a long-term issue. Children having chemotherapy and radiotherapy develop hardened arteries and lowered arterial function.
Researchers noted a nine per cent decrease in function immediately after treatment. In March the MRHA in the UK announced its concerns that the use of chemotherapy had not been through proper clinical trials in many cases, and announced it was holding a six month review of the situation. Results are yet to be announced. "Research has shown childhood cancer survivors face heart and other health problems decades after treatment," says Dr. Donald Dengel, Ph.D., a professor of kinesiology at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis and author of the new study. "But researchers had not, until now, looked at the heart health effects of childhood cancer treatment while survivors are still children."

Nov - Dec 2013 Cancer Watch
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