Child Cancer Survivors Have Greater Gastrointestinal Risk

A recent study has found out that adults who had cancer when they were children have a greater risk of developing colon cancer, as well as other gastrointestinal cancers, later in life.  The study found that childhood cancer survivors are 5 times more likely to developed colon cancer. This is especially true of those who had radiation treatment in the abdominal area as part of their cancer therapy.  On average, the incidence of gastrointestinal cancer was found after 5.5 years from the patient’s childhood cancer episode. Due to these findings, experts recommend that adults who survived cancer during their childhood remain extraordinarily vigilant about obtaining regular colon cancer screenings.

There have been previous studies that found that childhood cancer survivors were more prone to colon cancer and other gastrointestinal cancers than those who were not cancer survivors.  However, what was not known from prior studies was on the type of childhood cancer that leaves individuals more susceptible to cancer. Similarly, those studies did not research which specific cancer treatment options may have led to the increased likelihood of future gastrointestinal problems.

Data was taken from 14,538 patients who were diagnosed with cancer before they reached the age of 21. Each of these patients also survived more than 5 years from their initial cancer diagnosis. The researches obtained information about the cancer types and whether or not a new case of cancer was found after some years.  As children or as young adults, the patients tended to have Wilms tumor, bone cancer, Hodgkin’s lymphoma, neuroblastoma, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, soft tissue sarcoma and central nervous system cancer.  It was found out that after 22 years from which the cancer was diagnosed, 45 people had colon cancer or other forms. The average age of which diagnosis of colon cancer found is 33.5. Patients who had abdominal radiation as treatment were prone to colon cancer and other forms 11 times more. Those who also had procarbazine as medicine also had more risk for gastrointestinal cancers.

An organization that studies cancer in children, the Children’s Oncology Group, discovered that children who have 30 grays of radiation during cancer treatment should be screened for colon cancer when they reach the age of 35 or 10 years after radiation therapy should also be made every 5 years. Children who have been treated with chemotherapy drugs should also have colon cancer screening at an early age.

Early detection of colon cancer is the best method for averting deaths. The mandatory age for non-risk individuals is 50 years for colon cancer screening. The screening should be repeated every 10 years.  Those who are of greater risk may have colon cancer screening at an earlier. Adults who are cancer survivors are at high risk to develop colon cancer and other gastrointestinal cancers. These cancer survivors should have screening through colonoscopy or other methods as early as 35 years old or 10 years after the cancer diagnosis, whichever comes earlier.