Survivors of Childhood Leukemia, Brain Tumors More At Risk for Strokes Later In Life

Armen Hareyan's picture
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Children who are successfully treated for brain tumors or leukemia are more likely to have strokes later in life, according to new research from UT Southwestern Medical Center.

In addition, childhood cancer survivors who received higher doses of cranial radiation therapy to kill the cancer showed even greater risk of stroke in later life, according to the study, which appears in today's issue of the Journal of Clinical Oncology and is available online.

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"This is important because leukemia and brain tumors are the two most common types of childhood cancer, representing more than half of childhood cancers," said Dr. Daniel Bowers, associate professor of pediatrics and lead author of the study.

Other studies have shown that survivors of childhood leukemia or brain cancer are also at higher risk for cardiac dysfunction, obesity, short stature, and hormone and neurocognitive deficits. This is the first study to examine the risk to survivors for late-occurring strokes, which occur at least five years after their cancer diagnosis.

Leukemia and brain tumors account for 53 percent of all cancers among children younger than 15 years of age and are annually diagnosed in more than 4,400 U.S. children. Most patients live at least five years beyond their diagnosis to become long-term cancer survivors

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