Childhood Cancer Survivors Need Screening
Cancer Screening Among Childhood Cancer Survivors Low
Dec. 15, 2003 -- Adults who survive childhood cancers face
higher risks of future cancers yet despite this, cancer-screening practices are
below optimal levels, researchers say.
A new study shows the cancer screening practices of adult
survivors of childhood cancers are well below recommended levels for the
general population, despite the fact that cancer survivors face a higher
lifetime risk of cancer recurrence or a second cancer.
Researchers say that more and more people are surviving
childhood cancers that once proved fatal and as many as eight out of 10
children with cancer now survive 10 years or more. Those advances in treatment
have created a growing segment of the population that will have an increased
risk of cancer for the rest of their life, and researchers say that until now
little was known about the screening practices among this group.
Young Cancer Survivors Lax at Screening
In this study, which will appear in the Feb. 1, 2004 issue of
the journal Cancer, researchers surveyed 9,430 young adult survivors of
childhood cancer and 2,670 of their siblings.
Researchers found that both male and female cancer survivors
were more likely to be screened for cancer than their siblings, but the rates
were far from optimal.
For example, among female childhood cancer survivors:
- 27% said they performed regular breast self-exams
- 73% reported getting a PAP (Papanicolaou) smear within the last three
- 62% had a clinical breast exam within the last year
- 21% had gotten at least one mammogram in their lifetime
Researchers say that even among particularly high-risk groups,
cancer screening rates were low. Only 57% of female childhood cancer survivors
age 30 and over who had an increased risk of breast cancer because they were
exposed to chest or mantle radiation said they had ever had a mammogram.
Among men, only 17% reported that they performed regular
Researchers found several factors that seemed to have an impact
on the level of cancer screening, including age at diagnosis, education level,
and concern for health.