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Childhood cancer survivors face increased risk of metabolic syndrome and premature cardiovascular disease

A new study of metabolic health risk factors in childhood cancer survivors showed increased risk for modifiable factors such as hypertension and overweight/obesity. These factors have been linked to the effects of chemotherapy and radiation therapy and are key contributors to the metabolic syndrome, which increases a patient’s risk for cardiovascular disease, as described in an article in Journal of Adolescent and Young Adult Oncology (JAYAO), a multidisciplinary peer-reviewed publication from Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., publishers. The article is available free to download on the JAYAO website until February 25, 2016.

The article “Metabolic Health in Childhood Cancer Survivors: A Longitudinal Study in a Long-Term Follow-Up Clinic reports that hypertension was common in the study population of childhood cancer survivors who had been cancer-free for at least 5 years, affecting nearly 1 in 5 individuals and significantly more males and young adults 18 years of age or older. Other significant results included the finding that previous irradiation of the head is a risk factor for overweight/obesity.

Harriet Gunn, MBBS, Melissa Gabriel, MBBS, Ann Maguire, MBBS, PhD, Katharine Steinbeck, MBBS, PhD, The Children’s Hospital at Westmead and The University of Sydney (New South Wales, Australia), and Hanna Emilsson, Linkoping University (Sweden), emphasize the need to improve early identification and monitoring of metabolic health risks in this pediatric population, develop a clear definition of pediatric metabolic syndrome, and implement targeted interventions to minimize metabolic complications.

“Metabolic syndrome is becoming ever more relevant to young cancer survivors, and the authors of this article describe and frame the problem in a way that will help the AYA academic field find solutions, as defined and outlined in the paper,” says Editor-in-Chief Leonard S. Sender, MD, University of California, Irvine and CHOC Children’s Hospital, Orange, CA.