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Survivors of Childhood Cancer at Higher Risk of Another Cancer

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But overall, these individuals appear to have a six times greater risk of developing another cancer compared to a similar people who did not have childhood cancer. Those at highest risk for developing another cancer later in life are those who had Hodgkin's disease or who received radiation therapy in childhood. Those treated for leukemia in childhood are at greatest risk for developing a brain tumor later on.

"We did not find any association at all between age at therapy and the risk of breast cancer," said Neglia. "Previous studies have suggested that young girls treated for Hodgkin's disease with radiation therapy to the chest during times of breast development may be most susceptible [to developing breast cancer later on]. That actually has led to gender and age-specific recommendations for therapy. Our results contradict this finding and really stress the importance of close follow-up for any girl who received radiation to the chest at any point in childhood."

"Patients [who had cancer in childhood] need to know what the treatment was [that] they received, and they need to speak to a ... physician who is actually versed in these long-term consequences of therapy, to discuss what, if any, recommendations for follow-up are important," said Neglia. "An example of this is that any woman who received radiation to the chest during childhood [should] receive a mammogram, probably, at age 25."

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