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Childhood cancer survivors suffer chronic illness as adults

Adults who survive childhood cancer have a three-fold increased risk of developing a chronic condition by their 20s, a retrospective cohort study has found.

Compared with their siblings, childhood cancer survivors were eight times more likely to suffer from a severe or life-threatening condition and nearly five times more likely to suffer from multiple conditions.

The Childhood Cancer Survivor Study tracked the health of 10,397 patients who had been diagnosed with childhood cancer between 1970 and 1986 and 3034 siblings. Survivors and siblings had mean ages of 26.6 years and 29.2 years respectively at the time of the study.


Oeffinger KC, Mertens AC, Sklar CA et al. Chronic health conditions in adult survivors of childhood cancer. N Engl J Med 2006; 355:1572–82

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