Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started
My Medicine

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Cancer Health Center

Font Size

Child Cancer Survivors Overlooked

Most Survivors of Childhood Cancer Don’t Get Recommended Follow-Up Care
WebMD Health News
Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD

June 5, 2007 (Chicago) -- Although survivors of childhood cancer are at significant risk for long-term medical problems, less than one-third receive health care directed at addressing those risks when they are young adults, researchers report.

"Twelve percent of these patients receive no health care at all," says researcher Paul Nathan, MD, a cancer doctor at the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto.

Male and poor or uninsured childhood cancer survivors are least likely to receive follow-up care, Nathan tells WebMD.

According to Nathan, nearly two-thirds of childhood cancer survivors develop one or more chronic health problems as they age. “In 28% of them, the condition is severe or life-threatening,” he says.

Breast Screen Underutilized

Nathan says he is particularly concerned about survivors at increased risk for heart problems or breast cancer.

One in five women who received chest radiation for childhood cancer will develop breast cancer before age 45, so current guidelines call for them to have a mammogram every year starting at age 25, a far younger age than recommended for most women. Yet the survey showed that fewer than half of such women received the recommended breast screening.

Similarly, up to half of childhood cancer survivors are at risk for heart disease, leading to guidelines that survivors at risk of cardiac disease have an echocardiogram (sonogram of the heart, which looks at heart chamber size and how well blood is pumping through the heart) every one to two years. But only 28% of the participants received the recommended echocardiograms.

About 1 in 3 Receive Cancer Follow-Up Care

For the study, Nathan and colleagues asked more than 17,000 people who had been diagnosed with cancer between 1970 and 1986 to fill out questionnaires about the type of health care they were receiving. Of the total, 8,522 agreed to participate. Their average age at time of cancer diagnosis was 7; their average age at the time they filled out the survey was 31.

Among the findings:

  • 32% of participants received health care related to their childhood bout with cancer.
  • Just more than half (56%) of the participants received general health care in which doctors performed routine examinations without asking about their cancer.
  • Only 18% of participants received so-called risk-based care designed to proactively address complications they are most likely to develop.
  • Survivors most likely to be given risk-based care were anxious, in pain or poor physical health, or suffering from a chronic condition like diabetes.

Today on WebMD

Colorectal cancer cells
New! I AM Not Cancer Facebook Group
Lung cancer xray
See it in pictures, plus read the facts.
sauteed cherry tomatoes
Fight cancer one plate at a time.
Ovarian cancer illustration
Real Cancer Perspectives
Jennifer Goodman Linn self-portrait
what is your cancer risk
colorectal cancer treatment advances
breast cancer overview slideshow
prostate cancer overview
lung cancer overview slideshow
ovarian cancer overview slideshow
Actor Michael Douglas