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Late Mortality Up for Survivors of Early-Teen, Young Adult Cancers

Risks for late mortality, chronic health conditions higher compared with siblings, general population

THURSDAY, Feb. 20, 2020 (HealthDay News) — Early-adolescent and young adult cancer survivors have increased mortality and morbidity risks compared with siblings or the general population, according to a study published online Feb. 14 in The Lancet Oncology.

Eugene Suh, M.D., from Loyola University Chicago Health Sciences, and colleagues used data from the Childhood Cancer Survivor Study to describe chronic health conditions and all-cause and cause-specific mortality among survivors of early-adolescent and young adult cancer (aged 15 to 20 years at diagnosis; 5,804 survivors) and survivors diagnosed at an age younger than 15 years (5,804 survivors) compared with a cohort of siblings and the general population.

The researchers found that the standardized mortality ratio (SMR) for all-cause mortality was 5.9 and 6.2 among early-adolescent and young adult survivors and childhood cancer survivors, respectively, compared with the general population. Compared with childhood cancer survivors, early-adolescent and young adult cancer survivors had lower SMRs for death from health-related causes (SMR, 4.8 versus 6.8), which was mainly evident more than 20 years after cancer diagnosis. The risk for developing severe and disabling, life-threatening, or fatal health conditions was increased for early-adolescent and young adult cancer survivors and childhood cancer survivors versus siblings of the same age (hazard ratios, 4.2 and 5.6, respectively).

“Our data underscore that focused efforts are needed to ensure early-adolescent and young adult cancer survivors are receiving recommended risk-based care, with a focus on high-risk cancer screening, to reduce morbidity and premature mortality,” the authors write.

One author disclosed financial ties to Novo Nordisk.

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