Childhood Cancer Survivors Living Longer But Not Always Better


black woman sitting on the edge of her bed in painDespite three decades of advancements in treating children with cancer, patients who survive into adulthood don’t report better physical or mental health than their counterparts who were treated years ago, researchers report.

Adults treated as children in the 1990s were more likely to report poor general health and anxiety than adults treated as children in the 1970s, the researchers said.

That’s not what the researchers had expected to find. After all, patients are living longer today than in past generations. More than 80 percent of children diagnosed with cancer are alive at least five years after their diagnosis, the U.S. National Cancer Institute says.

And there have been significant efforts to minimize the toxic side effects of cancer treatments. Proton therapy limits radiation damage to healthy tissue, while limb-sparing surgery has largely replaced amputation, noted Kirsten Ness, a physical therapist and one of the study authors.

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