December 20, 2016 – Surviving Childhood Cancer
Anchor lead: Even when they’ve survived, those who had cancer as children continue to be concerned, Elizabeth Tracey reports
Data on surviving childhood cancer get better and better, but now a study in Annals of Internal Medicine finds that those who survive don’t stop worrying about cancer returning. William Nelson, director of the Kimmel Cancer Center at Johns Hopkins, comments.
Nelson: There’s a significant residual amount of worry about health, and worry about cancer coming back in these childhood survivors. One way to look at that is that the improvements in survivorship didn’t necessarily pay off so much in the improved attitude of the survivors related to their cancer experience or their concern for the future. And it turns out that the ones who smoke or became obese had more health problems. It is interesting that the improvements in cancer therapy are improving survivorship but there’s a significant amount of anxiety and worry about cancer in this group. :32
Nelson says there’s a lot of attention being paid among medical professionals to quality of life for people who’ve survived cancer, and assessing anxiety and depression periodically may be helpful, as well as encouraging healthy lifestyle choices. At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.