What should childhood cancer survivors do to give themselves a better chance

Harold Mandel's picture
Adhering to a healthy active lifestyle

There have been dramatic advances in the treatment of many childhood cancers which often makes long term survival and even cures possible. But in order to give themselves a better chance at having a healthy heart later in life survivors of childhood cancer should always remember to adhere to a healthy lifestyle.

Childhood cancer survivors are at an increased risk of developing metabolic syndrome

It has been observed that childhood cancer survivors are at an increased risk of developing metabolic syndrome reported the journal Cancer. This increased risk for metabolic syndrome can be decreased with lifestyle modifications. Researchers have confirmed that adherence to a heart-healthy lifestyle in childhood cancer survivors is associated with a lower risk of metabolic syndrome. There has also been an interest in determining if healthy lifestyle interventions can help prevent or correct metabolic syndrome in childhood cancer survivors.

Lifestyle choices may affect the long-term heart health of survivors of childhood cancer

Researchers have demonstrated that lifestyle choices may affect the long-term heart health of survivors of childhood cancer reports Wiley in a review of this research. Because it has been observed that adhering to a healthy lifestyle may decrease childhood cancer survivors’ risk of developing the metabolic syndrome it has been suggested that adult survivors of childhood cancer should be given information about how their lifestyle may in fact influence their long-term health.

The fact that adults who had cancer as kids are known to be at increased risk for the metabolic syndrome is of great concern. Metabolic syndrome is a group of risk factors which increases the likelihood of developing heart disease and other serious health problems such as diabetes and stroke. People suffering from metabolic syndrome have some combination of factors which includes:

1: High blood pressure


2: Abnormal cholesterol levels

3: Abnormal glucose levels

4: Increased body fat

In this study females who did not follow the guidelines for a healthy lifestyle were 2.4 and males were 2.2 times more likely to have the metabolic syndrome than those participants who followed the guidelines. Dr. Ness, a lead researcher of this study, says these findings are important because they indicate that adults who were treated for cancer as kids have an opportunity to influence their own health outcomes. Healthy lifestyle guidelines should include the following:

1: Maintaining a healthy body weight

2: Regular physical activity

3: A diet that includes fruits and vegetables and that limits refined sugars

4: Avoidance of excessive alcohol, red meat, and salt

Clearly physicians should counsel childhood cancer survivors about the vital importance of adhering to a healthy lifestyle. It is clear cancer survivors should not smoke. Furthermore, as pointed out by this research team, adhering to other aspects of a healthy lifestyle in these people has the potential to prevent the actual development of the metabolic syndrome.